Wall Street Opens Mixed as J&J Shock Dents Reopening Trades – Dow Down 150 Pts

© Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith 

Investing.com — U.S. stock markets opened mixed on Tuesday after news that the U.S. will suspend the distribution of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:)’s Covid-19 vaccine wrongfooted the reopening trades that have dominated in recent weeks. 

“We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” the Food and Drug Administration said in a joint statement with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Twitter. The move comes after six patients – all of them women aged between 18 and 48, developed blood clots on the brain within two weeks of taking the vaccine. The problem is similar to the one that has dogged AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:)’s Covid-19 drug, although the incidence appears to be lower: the six cases identified compare to over 6.8 million shots of the J&J drug already distributed.

J&J said it will proactively stop the rollout of the drug in Europe. J&J stock fell 2.4%, dragging down popular ‘reopening’-themed stocks such as airlines and cruise operators. American Airlines (NASDAQ:) stock was the worst affected, falling 5.1%, while United Airlines (NASDAQ:) stock fell 3.6%. Both airlines have chosen to tap relatively expensive debt markets in recent weeks to get them through what they expect to be the last of the Covid-19-related lockdowns, rather than depend on cheaper funding from the government that comes with more strings attached. Carnival  (NYSE:) stock meanwhile fell 2.6% 

Some of the biggest gainers from the news were rival vaccine makers, which now have an opportunity to grab market share from J&J. Moderna (NASDAQ:) stock rose 8.9%, while BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:) stock rose 7.2%.

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The news overshadowed a slightly higher-than-expected inflation print for March. The CPI rose 2.6% year-on-year as the collapse of oil prices a year ago created a distorted base effect. The monthly rise in prices, at 0.3%, was however also stronger than expected and the biggest such rise since September. 

By 9:40 AM ET (1340 GMT), the was down 180 points, or 0.5%, at 33,565 points. The was down 0.1% but the was up 0.8%.

“US inflation is on the rise and has a lot further to go. We see 4% in the next few months with rising corporate pricing power and the strong housing market likely to keep it close to 3% for much longer than the market is anticipating,” said James Knightley, chief international economist with ING, via Twitter.

Elsewhere, Altimeter Growth Corp (NASDAQ:)., the special purpose acquisition company that has agreed to take southeast Asian ride-hailing company Grab public at a valuation of $40 billon, fell some 4.7% after initially rising on the reports. 

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