The S&P 500 fell marginally from a record high in a late-day selloff on Thursday after a report said Pfizer is dialing back its coronavirus vaccine rollout plan for this year due to supply chain issues.
The Dow Jones Industrials held onto gains of 85.23 points to finish Thursday at 29,969.52
The S&P 500 reversed earlier gains and shed 2.29 points from Wednesday’s closing high, to 3,666.72.
The NASDAQ gained 27.82 points to 12,377.18.
Major averages cut gains quickly in the final hour of trading after Dow Jones reported Pfizer now expects to ship half of the doses it had previously planned this year after finding raw materials in early production that didn’t meet its standard.
But the selloff was relatively mild as the report also said Pfizer and BioNtech are now on track to roll out 1.3 billion vaccines in 2021 and the 50 million dose shortfall this year will be covered as production ramps up. Shares of Pfizer dropped 1.7% following the news.
Still the report raised concerns from investors that maybe the stock market’s recent run to records is pricing in a too-perfect rollout of Covid vaccines the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, coronavirus infections have accelerated in the U.S. where more than 100,000 patients are currently hospitalized, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. That is significantly above the peak during the first wave in the spring, when cases were concentrated in the northeastern part of the country.
The U.S. also reported a record 2,800 COVID deaths on Wednesday, the highest single-day death toll ever reported, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Earlier in the session, sentiment was boosted by better-than-expected jobs data.
First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 712,000 last week, lower than an estimate of 780,000 from economists surveyed by Dow Jones. Jobless claims also fell for the first time in three weeks as the labour market showed resilience even in the face of a worsening pandemic.
The Labor Department is set to release its closely watched jobs report for November on Friday. The U.S. economy is expected to add 440,000 jobs while the unemployment rate is estimated to decrease to 6.7%, according to Dow Jones.
On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement calling on Republicans to work with them on another round of coronavirus relief funding, using a bipartisan proposal from Senate moderates as a starting point.
Prices for the 10-Year Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 0.91% from Wednesday’s 0.94%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices headed higher 38 cents to $45.66 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices improved $14.70 to $1,834.20