Stocks surge as Russia claims to have a Covid-19 vaccine

Stocks have leapt higher today after Russia claimed that it had registered the world’s first vaccine for the new coronavirus.

The Dow has climbed over 350 points higher and the S&P 500 has risen to within touching distance of the all-time high set in February. European stocks have held on to this morning’s gains.

Conversely, safe-haven precious metals are getting hammered, with gold now down over -4% at $1,940.00 and silver crashing -7% to $27.00.

Putin announces registration of world’s first coronavirus vaccine

President Putin claims that the virus works ‘quite effectively, it forms a stable immunity and, I repeat, has passed all the necessary checks’. He also said that one of his daughters has been given the vaccine.

The vaccine has undergone clinical trials, which have been completed in under two months. Phase three trials are expected to start on Wednesday and will involve countries including the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.

The vaccine will be called ‘Sputnik V’ in overseas markets. The Russian Direct Investment Firm, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, is backing the production of the vaccine and claims that over 20 countries have filed preliminary applications for a total of over 1 billion doses so far.

Doubts over Russian vaccine claims

While Putin has hailed the Russian breakthrough and stocks have moved sharply higher, the news has been met with scepticism elsewhere.

A spokesman for the World Health Organisation cautiously said that the body was in contact with Russia about the “possible pre-qualification process for a Covid-19 candidate vaccine which requires rigorous review”.

And former US Food and Drug Administration commissioner and Pfizer board member Dr Scott Gottlieb told CNBC today that, compared to the US efforts, Russia’s vaccine development is ‘certainly not ahead’.

‘They’ve cleared the equivalent, really, of a Phase 1 clinical trial in terms of putting it in 100 to maybe as many as 300 patients so it needs to be evaluated in a large-scale clinical trial,’ Gottlieb said.

Regardless of any cautious noises, markets are powering higher, with investors perhaps repricing their expectations for how far out a working vaccine is.