Saying on Sunday that the coronavirus surge in Nevada is running at wildfire levels, Governor Steve Sislak announced new restrictions to start on Tuesday and that will run for three weeks.
The new rules will require casinos, amusement and theme parks, arcades, bars, and restaurants to reduce their capacity to 25% from the current 50%.
What I think is most interesting to investors, though, is the reaction of stocks with Las Vegas exposure to the news.
At 2 p.m. New York time today shares of MGM Resorts International (MGM), by far the biggest operator of casinos and hotels on the Las Vegas strip, were up 1.01%. The stock has given up a good part of that gain in the last hour–with the stock up just 0.29% at 3 p.m. New York time.
But if you were thinking that the news of new rules that cut capacity by 50% might send the stock downwards, as I was, you’ll have to admit to being surprised.
Off setting the Las Vegas specific news today was an announcement from AstraZeneca (AZN) and its partner Oxford University that its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective (but on average 70% effective) and looked likely to confer immunity for at least six months. Unlike the vaccine candidates from Pfizer (PFE) and Moderna (MRNA) the AstraZeneca vaccine does not require temperatures below zero for its stability. Like those two candidates, that from AstraZeneca does require two shots.
With three promising vaccine candidates now likely to get relatively quick regulatory approval, the stock market, today, is more than willing to look past the rising toll of infections and deaths from the coronavirus in the near term to a future when one or more vaccines have put the virus back in the bottle.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee meets on the Pfizer vaccine candidate on December 10. If the FDA grants an emergency use authorization at that meeting, the first patients could receive the vaccine a early as December 12, Moncef Slaoui, the chief science advisor to the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, told ABC
If the Food and Drug Administration gives Pfizer’s vaccine (ticker: PFE) an emergency-use authorization when its vaccine advisory committee meets Dec. 10, the first patients could received the vaccine as early as December 12, Moncef Slaoui, the chief science advisor to the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
The market isn’t in any mood to doubt that scenario right now.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed up 0.57% today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 1.13% higher. The NASDAQ Composite added a meagre 0.22% and the NASDAQ 100 ended the day unchanged. The small cap Russell 2000 gained 1.96% and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) moved up 0.29%.