Dow, S&P 500 hit new records as airline stocks surge after record travel day

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March 15 (UPI) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both extended winning streaks to climb to new records Monday as airline stocks boomed amid optimism surrounding the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Dow ended the day up 174.82 points, or 0.53%, to a record of 32,953.46 for its seventh consecutive day of gains, while the S&P climbed for a fifth straight day by gaining 25.6 points or 0.65% to hit a record 3,968.84. The Nasdaq Composite also increased 1.05%.

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Airline stocks helped to lead the way, as shares of United Airlines gained 8.26% and American Airlines climbed 7.7%.

Data released by the Transportation Security Administration showed that it screened 1,357,111 travelers Friday, the most since March 15, 2020.

Other stocks that would benefit from the widespread lifting of COVID-19 restrictions also climbed after the United States passed the milestone of 100 million vaccines administered by Saturday.

AMC stock shot up 26.03% on Monday after the theater chain reopened in Los Angeles.

“The upbeat price performance despite the persistence of the pandemic is primarily owing to the market availability of vaccines,” Zacks Investment Research said in a note.

“This is a huge positive for the airline companies, which would be hoping that air-travel demand will improve this year from the horrendous lows experienced last year as more and more people take to the skies without the fear of being infected.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, recommended that even those who are fully vaccinated should avoid unnecessary travel, and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky warned of the possibility of another surge.

“I’m pleading with you, for the sake of our nation’s health,” Walensky said at a press briefing. “Cases climbed last spring, they climbed again in the summer, they will climb now if we stop taking precautions when we continue to get more and more people vaccinated.”