Winners and losers from Pfizer and Biontech's vaccine announcement: Evidence from S&P 500 (Sub)sector indices

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This study explores how the US stock market reacted to the news of a successful development of vaccine by Pfizer and Biontech on November 9, 2020. In particular, the study analyses the effect of the vaccine announcement on 11 sector indices and 79 subsector indices. A key contribution of the present study is to provide a deeper subsector level of analysis lacking in existing literature. An event study approach is applied in identifying abnormal returns due to the November 9th vaccine announcement. Several event periods (-1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 0-1, 0-3) are analysed to provide a more complete picture of the effects. Based on analysis, it is established that there are considerable inter and intra sectoral variations in the impact of the vaccine news. The results show that the impact follows a clear pattern. The sectors that were hit hardest by the pandemic such as energy, financials, as well as subsectors like hotels and casinos, benefited the most from positive vaccine news. Subsectors that gained from the pandemic such as airfreight, household appliances and computers and electronics retail were depressed the most by the news. These findings suggest that while the availability of vaccines is expected to help steer economies gradually to normalcy, the re-adjustment is likely to be asymmetric across subsectors. While some subsectors expect to expand as these industries recover from the contraction inflicted by the COVID-19 environment, other subsectors expect adjustment losses as these industries shed off the above average gains driven by the COVID-19 environment.
This work is licensed under Creative Commons License and full text is openly accessible in CUD Digital Repository. The version of the scholarly record of this article is published in PloS One (2022), available online at:
Kapar, B., Buigut, S., & Rana, F. (2022). Winners and losers from Pfizer and Biontech’s vaccine announcement: Evidence from S&P 500 (Sub)sector indices. PLoS One, 17(10), e0275773.