Wall Street ends higher on full vaccine approval

Investors returned to risk Monday, driving the Nasdaq to a record closing high and bitcoin back to the $50,000 mark in intraday trading. Helping boost sentiment: Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine got full approval from U.S. regulators.

Wall Street shrugged off mixed economic data showing a third straight monthly drop in U.S. business activity in August but a rise in home sales in July.

Sanders Morris Harris Chairman George Ball says investors welcome lukewarm readings on the economy.

“For now, a placid, tepid economic backdrop is very good for stock prices. That's why today is a risk-on day. The economic pronouncements have been relatively disappointing if you're an economist. They did quite pleasing if you're a stock trader.”

Industrials powered the Dow 0.6% higher. The S&P 500 gained 0.9% and tech stocks propelled the Nasdaq 1.5% higher.

The headline about the approval of Pfizer’s vaccine came just after the drug maker announced a $2.3 billion deal with Trillium Therapeutics. It’s buying the remaining shares it doesn’t already own of the cancer drug developer. Pfizer shares rose over 2%. Trillium’s shares nearly tripled.

GM shares fell more than 1%. The auto maker said it’ll take a $1 billion hit to expand the recall of its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles due to the risk of fires from its battery pack.

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