Major stock markets surged higher Monday -- with the Dow closing in on 30,000 points -- after an announcement a second Covid-19 vaccine is proving effective in trials, sparking fresh hope of a return to normality.

Moderna said its experimental Covid-19 vaccine was shown to be 94.5 percent effective according to early trial results.

That followed an announcement last week by Pfizer and BioNTech that their vaccine was 90 percent effective.

"US stocks raced higher on Moderna's upbeat vaccine news, which along with Pfizer's vaccine raise expectations for a return to pre-pandemic life before next winter," said market analyst Edward Moya at OANDA currency trading platform.

The positive news about Moderna allowed investors to look past rising coronavirus cases that are stretching hospital infrastructure in some parts of the United States.

The US recorded 133,045 new Covid-19 cases on Monday and 616 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The Dow finished at a fresh record, easily topping its prior high mark and ending with a gain of 1.6 percent at 29,950.44.

The S&P 500 also ended at a new peak, while the Nasdaq finished solidly higher.

European equities accelerated gains on the news. Both London and Paris climbed 1.7 percent while Frankfurt ended the day 0.7 percent higher.

"Just as their initial dose of vaccine bullishness appeared to be waning, the markets got another injection of good news this Monday," Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell told AFP.

"As with Pfizer, there is still a way to go before Moderna's vaccine is approved. However, investors were only thinking about the long-term, flashing forward to the end of this nightmare."

Oil prices in London soared by more than 3 percent as the vaccine news stoked hopes of a recovery in energy demand, just as many countries are tightening restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In addition, traders cheered the signing of the world's biggest free-trade deal by 15 Asia-Pacific countries -- including Japan and China -- that covers about a third of the world's gross domestic product.

Tokyo jumped more than two percent on news that the world's third biggest economy had surged out of recession in the third quarter, growing by a forecast-beating five percent owing to a pick-up in domestic demand and exports.

"The recent growth points towards the fact that Asia is now well and truly on the path to recovery, with China in particular, showing great resilience as Beijing revealed its factory output had risen faster than expected," said Sun Global Investments head Mihir Kapadia.

Joe Biden
One of Joe Biden's top medical advisers said the incoming administration did not plan to impose a nationwide lockdown as the US suffers a surge in virus infections Photo: AFP / Angela Weiss

New York - Dow: UP 1.6 percent at 29,950.44 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 1.2 percent at 3,626.91 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.8 percent at 11,924.13 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.7 percent at 6,421.29 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.5 percent at 13,138.61 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 1.7 percent at 5,471.48 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.0 percent at 3,466.21 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 2.1 percent at 25,906.93 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.9 percent at 26,381.67 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.1 percent at 3,346.97 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1854 from $1.1834 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3198 from $1.3189

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 104.56 yen from 104.63 yen

Euro/pound: UP at 89.82 pence from 89.73 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 3.0 percent at $41.34 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.4 percent at $43.82 per barrel

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