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Stocks rise on Wall Street, headed for solid weekly gain

Stocks are set to end the abbreviated trading week with a gain, with investors encouraged by progress in getting a vaccine approved and distributed.
Credit: AP
A sign for Wall Street is carved in the side of a building, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in New York. U.S. futures and world shares have surged as investors await the outcome of the U.S. presidential election and embrace the upside of more gridlock in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Stocks rose on Wall Street Friday during a shortened trading session, led by gains in technology companies. 

The S&P 500 rose 0.2% and is on track for its third weekly gain in the past four weeks. Investors have been encouraged by progress in getting a coronavirus vaccine approved and distributed and hopefully halting the coronavirus pandemic's grip on the global economy. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which earlier this week crossed 30,000 for the first time, rose 28 points, or 0.1%, to 29,900 as of 11:50 a.m. eastern. The Nasdaq, which has a heavy weighting of technology stocks, gained 103, or 0.9%, to 12,198. The S&P 500 rose 6 points, or 0.2%, to 3,636.

U.S. markets close at 1 p.m. Eastern after being shut for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The major indexes have shown double-digit growth so far this month, with the S&P 500 posting a gain of 11.2%. Investors are looking forward to a possible vaccine to control the pandemic that plunged the global economy into its deepest slump since the 1930s. Pfizer and Moderna have released results showing their vaccines proved highly effective against COVID-19 in testing.

The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca also this week released positive test results about their vaccine. But researchers have questioned how Oxford and AstraZeneca calculated the effectiveness of their vaccine. The AstraZeneca CEO told Bloomberg News the company might conduct another trial.

AstraZeneca shares fell 0.8% in midday trading, while Pfizer shares rose 1.8% and Moderna shares jumped 15.4%. Pfizer's vaccine could begin distribution next month if approved by the Food and Drug Administration. 

The vaccine news has offset concerns about spiking coronavirus cases in the U.S. and other parts of the world. U.S. states and European governments are re-imposing controls on business and travel as infection rates surge.

The disease has killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide and there are 61 million confirmed cases, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University.

The pandemic has brought significant changes to the traditional Black Friday  shopping holiday. Many retailers are beefing up their safety protocols, moving their doorbuster deals online and curbside pickup options as a last grasp at sales before the year ends.

Retailers need a boost from Black Friday and holiday shopping altogether to try and recoup sales lost to the pandemic. Early indications are that people are staying home and choosing to do any shopping online. 

Macy's shares fell 1.6% while shares of Walmart showed a slight decline. Shares of the online marketplace Etsy, meanwhile, rose 8.1%. 

Tech shares led the gainers. Adobe rose 2% and Intel each added 1.7%. 

European markets were higher. Germany's DAX gained 0.4% and the CAC 40 in France rose 0.6%. Asia markets also rose Friday. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 0.8%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 0.85% from 0.87% Wednesday. 

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