What's driving the stock market right now

BMO Capital Markets chief strategist Brian Belski on investors who are worried about today’s markets.

U.S. equity markets rallied Monday amid a flurry of deals worth around $67 billion in tech, telecom and biotech, along with optimism a COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed by yearend.

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The Nasdaq Composite paced the gains ri,sing 1.86%, as tech stocks continued to dictate the market’s direction after Nvidia agreed to purchase Arm Holdings from SoftBank Group in a $40 billion cash and stock deal.

Ticker Security Last Change Change % I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 11056.65063 +203.11 +1.87% NVDA NVIDIA CORPORATION 514.89 +28.31 +5.82%

The S&P 500, meanwhile, closed higher by 1.27% after Gilead Sciences Inc. agreed to a $21 billion deal for Immunomedics Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. announced a $6.25 billion deal to buy wireless phone reseller Tracfone from America Movil SAB.

Ticker Security Last Change Change % SP500 S&P 500 3383.54 +42.57 +1.27% GILD GILEAD SCIENCES INC. 66.34 +1.44 +2.22% IMMU IMMUNOMEDICS 83.65 +41.40 +97.99% VZ VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC. 60.31 +0.55 +0.92% AMX AMERICA MOVIL S.A.B. DE C. V. 13.51 +0.99 +7.91%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 327 points, or 1.18%, with United Health and Apple registering gains.

Ticker Security Last Change Change % I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 27993.33 +327.69 +1.18% UNH UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INCORPORATED 308.57 +7.09 +2.35% AAPL APPLE INC. 115.36 +3.35 +3.00% MSFT MICROSOFT CORP. 205.41 +1.38 +0.68%

Along with a surge in M&A activity, the gains were also fueled by further optimism a COVID-19 vaccine could be distributed by the end of this year after Pfizer Inc. asked the Food and Drug Administration to expand its late-stage trial to 44,000 participants, up from its initial target of 30,000. Astra Zeneca shares also rose.

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