Stocks to Watch as AstraZeneca Raises COVID-19 Vaccine Hopes

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The markets are headed for a strong start to the week, with the NASDAQ, the S&P 500, and the Dow all in the green. This follows optimism that a COVID-19 vaccine is now closer than ever. Over the weekend, AstraZeneca announced that it was continuing with late-stage tests for its COVID-19 vaccine trials with the University of Oxford.

The trials had been put on hold earlier after one of the participants suffered an adverse reaction.  The restart of the program means that a vaccine could be in the offing any time before the end of 2020.  The excitement around a vaccine stems from the fact that COVID-19 has had an adverse effect on the world economy. Entire sectors such as travel and tourism have been hit hard.

Unemployment has also been high all through the pandemic thereby hitting consumer spending. Given that the U.S economy runs on consumer spending, there is optimism that a vaccine, and a return to normalcy, would help restart the economic engine, and drive the economy to new heights, and possibly return to the economic strength that was experienced before the pandemic.

As market-wide optimism rises, stocks that have positive news coming out are outperforming the market in early morning trading and could do better than average in the day. Some of the top performers this morning are as below:

Immunomedics Inc [NASDAQ: IMMU]

Immunomedics Inc is a top performer this morning and is up by over 100%. This follows news that Gilead was buying the company in a $21 billion deal. This means that Gilead is offering $88 per share, or a premium of 108% compared to the stock’s Friday’s close.

The deal will be financed in a mix of cash and debt and will give Gilead access to Immunomedics’ breast cancer treatment that has already been approved by the FDA. Commenting on the deal, Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day stated that the acquisition was a step forward in strengthening the company’s portfolio of oncological treatments.

Cassava Sciences Inc [NASDAQ: SAVA]

Cassava Sciences Inc is another top performer this morning and is up by over 100% pre-market. This follows the company’s announcement of results from its phase 2b clinical study for Sumifilam, the company’s treatment for Alzheimer’s. The company noted that patients who were put under the treatment recorded more cognitive improvement compared to those put on a placebo. The company also noted that the treatment was well-tolerated.

J.Jill Inc [NYSE: JILL]

Jill Inc is another top performer this morning and is up by over 50%. This follows the company’s announcement that it would be restructuring out of court. The company stated that it had received a nod from 97.8% of its lenders to go ahead and restructure without the need for a court judge.



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