Optimism that vaccines are on the way to end the coronavirus pandemic has been a major factor in this year’s U.S. stock resurgence. That will face a critical test in coming weeks, as investors await clinical data on whether they actually work.
A UBS analysis found that about 40% of the market’s gains since May can be pegged to hopes for vaccines to protect against COVID-19, which has killed over 960,000 worldwide and rocked the global economy.
Global efforts to develop a vaccine are coming to a head, with late-stage data on trials by companies such as Pfizer Inc PFE.N and Moderna Inc MRNA.O possible as soon as October or November. Disappointing results could further shake markets that have recently grown turbulent on worries over fiscal stimulus delays and uncertainty around the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election.
The number of vaccines in development could blunt the negative market impact of any single setback. More than a half-dozen vaccines globally are in late-stage trials out of over 30 currently being tested in humans, according to the World Health Organization.