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 optimism a COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed by yearend and amid a flurry of deals.

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The Nasdaq Composite traded up 2% 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 11090.884718 +237.34 +2.19% NVDA NVIDIA CORPORATION 519.17 +32.59 +6.70%

The S&P 500, meanwhile, was higher by 1.4% 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. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.02%.

Ticker Security Last Change Change % SP500 S&P 500 3394.63 +53.66 +1.61% :IDJIGILD n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. IMMU IMMUNOMEDICS 84.72 +42.48 +100.53% VZ VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC. 60.68 +0.92 +1.54% AMX AMERICA MOVIL S.A.B. DE C. V. 13.26 +0.74 +5.91%

The early 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.

Elsewhere, Oracle Corp. will partner with social media app TikTok’s U.S. business. Microsoft Corp., which was thought to be the front runner to buy TikTok, slipped after losing out.

Ticker Security Last Change Change % PFE PFIZER INC. 36.84 +0.76 +2.09% ORCL ORACLE CORPORATION 60.32 +3.32 +5.82% MSFT MICROSOFT CORP. 208.11 +4.08 +2.00%

Other mega-cap tech stocks that have paced the rally off the March low, including

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