Goldman Sachs Says Investors Are Underestimating the Chance of a COVID-19 Vaccine in 2020

It's an event that could push the S&P 500 11 percent higher.
Goldman Sachs Says Investors Are Underestimating the Chance of a COVID-19 Vaccine in 2020
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This story originally appeared on Business Insider

Investors should price that at least one vaccine will be developed by year end which could drive the S&P 500 up 11 percent, Goldman Sachs said. 

In a note Wednesday, the U.S. banking giant, said: "We agree that there is now a good chance that at least one vaccine will be FDA-approved by the end of November and broadly distributed by the middle of 2021."

"This kind of timeline could see a substantial boost to GDP relative to a 'no-vaccine' case, particularly for the U.S., which is likely to lead the vaccine race and is likely to experience worse outcomes than in Europe without a vaccine," the bank added. 

Goldman Sachs thinks the S&P 500 could jump 11 percent from current levels should a vaccine come by year end. 

"Options markets are underpricing the upside for equity indices from an early vaccine," a Goldman team of Kamakshya Trivedi, Zach Pandl, and Dominic Wilson wrote.

"We now see our baseline as consistent with the S&P 500 at around 3,390, the upside case with the S&P 500 at around 3,700, and the downside case with the S&P 500 at a little below 2,200," Goldman Sachs said.

Related: Moderna's Coronavirus Vaccine Just Started Its Phase 3 Trial. Here's How It Will Work

The S&P closed at 3,327 on Wednesday, meaning that a fall to 2,200 would be a drop of around 33 percent, while a jump to 3,700 would be a gain of 11 percent.

The bank referred to forecasts from Good Judgement, a company that uses superforecasting, that predict a 10 percent chance of a vaccine being broadly available before the first quarter of 2021. The chance of this has now risen, the bank said. 

"Using the superforecasters' estimates for our upside case implies that the current equity market level is consistent with a probability of around 40 percent for both our baseline and upside cases and 20 percent for the downside case-in other words, 60 percent on the 'no early vaccine' outcome."

Related: First 45 U.S. Volunteers Get Experimental COVID-19 Vaccine

Central banks across the world have engaged in various stimulus packages. Investors also remained very sensitive to any vaccine related news, with stocks recording huge losses and rallies as pharmaceutical giants posted mixed results to the trials. 

There are 164 ongoing research efforts to develop a vaccine, according to the World Health Organization. By year end there will likely be more than 40 coronavirus vaccine candidates in human testing, according to a recent Business Insider review.



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