By Yasin Ebrahim
Investing.com – The Nasdaq closed at record highs on Monday as investors piled into tech stocks ahead of several quarterly earnings for mega-cap tech companies slated for later this week.
Tech made a bold start to the week, led by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), the so-called Fab 5, making up about 40% of the Nasdaq Index as Wall Street served up bullish upgrades on the sector.
Amazon surged 7.9% after Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) upgraded its price target on the stock to $3,800 from $3,100, citing an acceleration in online spending this year. Google, meanwhile, rose 3.3% after Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju hiked the price target on Alphabet to $1,850 from $1,600 ahead of its second-quarter results due July 30.
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) was also a big contributor to the heavy-weight index, racking up gains of 9.5%.
Beyond big tech, the vaccine race continues to heat up, with AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) and Oxford University revealing a positive update on a potential Covid-19 candidate.
The phase 1 trial, which included 1,000 patients, showed that doses of the vaccine – called ChAdOx1 nCov-19 – triggered an immune response in patients, boosting their antibodies and white blood cells to fight the virus.
“The immune responses observed following vaccination are in line with what we expect will be associated with protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, although we must continue with our rigorous clinical trial program to confirm this,” said Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial. “We saw the strongest immune response in participants who received two doses of the vaccine, indicating that this might be a good strategy for vaccination.”
Other companies in the race for the vaccine fell. Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) was down nearly 13% after JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) downgraded the company to neutral from overweight, though it raised its price target on the stock to $89 from $60.
As U.S. Covid-19 cases topped 3.5 million, investors reined in their bets on stocks tied to a smooth reopening of businesses amid fears further shut downs loom.
Nasdaq Hits Record High as Amazon Leads Tech to Glory
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