Shares of AMC Entertainment led exhibition stocks higher Monday after the FDA granted a long-awaited full approval for the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.
The hope is that the move – valid for those age 16 and up — will chip away at vaccine hesitancy, which has stalled the U.S. rollout of shots, and make it easier for schools and other organizations and employers to mandate it. The more vaxxed the population, the more likely it is to feel at ease with indoor entertainment including movies. Cinemas are struggling to bounce back from Covid.
Retail traders’ favorite meme stock, AMC Entertainment was up more than 8% in afternoon trade, so was Cinemark. Imax was up 6% and Marcus was close to 4%. All were outperforming a buoyant market with the DJIA up close to 300 points.
The vaccine had been approved for emergency use authorization.
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As NATO chief John Fithian told Deadline recently, vaccines are the key to getting people back in theaters in large numbers.
AMC CEO Adam Aron said as much at the company’s latest earnings call earlier this month — “The solution for AMC is vaccination.”
The FDA news likely raised a cheer at CinemaCon as the first meeting of studios and exhibitors since the pandemic struck kicked off its weeklong event in Las Vegas.
“While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated,” said acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock in a statement.
“Those who have been waiting for full approval should go get your shot now,” said President Joe Biden after the FDA’s announcement.
Corporate profits last quarter were generally strong and economic indicators like unemployment stats have been upbeat. What’s been keeping a lid on stock market gains is upcoming annual symposium for central bankers in Jackson Hole Symposium that starts this Thursday. Many believe that Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell who speaks there will discuss the Fed’s tapering plans.
Tapering means the Fed would slow down its bond purchases, which have been injecting large amounts of liquidity into financial markets during Covid. Economic recovery and a related boost in demand for products can cause inflation, which has been rising and is the Fed’s job to keep in check. But the rapid spread of the Delta variant may be a factor in putting tapering off.