Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, August 11, 2021.

Source: NYSE

Stocks were higher in early Monday trading after a volatile week on Wall Street as investors targeted a major event where the Federal Reserve could point to prospects for stimulus tapering.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 150 points, or nearly 0.5%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also gained about 0.5%.

Vaccine manufacturers’ stocks trade higher after the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech two-dose Covid-19 vaccine on Monday. Pfizer stock is up about 3% and shares of its partner BioNTech are up 8%.

Bitcoin hit a three-month high on Sunday, hitting over $ 50,000, pulling crypto-related stocks higher. Coinbase and Microstrategy are 2% higher.

Key averages are declining after a lost week as investors worried that the Fed’s potential move to withdraw monetary stimulus could slow the economic recovery already being challenged by the spread of the Delta-Covid-19 variant .

Traders are eagerly awaiting the Jackson Hole Symposium for guidance on the Fed’s schedule to withdraw from its $ 120 billion monthly bond purchase program. The event takes place virtually on Thursday and Friday. The Fed previously wanted to hold the event in a mixed virtual and live presentation, but decided on Friday to go completely virtual in view of the rising virus risk.

Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech will be titled “The Economic Outlook,” which may suggest the speech may have a shorter-term focus, “Nomura economist Aichi Amemiya said in a note.

“Given the recent deterioration in incoming data and the pandemic situation, we see some risk that Powell will focus on the increased uncertainty due to the recent surge in COVID-19,” added Amemiya. “At least we see recent comments from Fed officials as support for our view of a December throttling announcement despite a FOMC preference for November from the July meeting.”

The blue-chip Dow fell 1.1% last week while the S&P 500 was down nearly 0.6%, breaking a two-week winning streak. Tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 0.7% over the week.

“We suspect that investor beliefs are being challenged by the potential for impending monetary policy changes, changing growth and value rotations, and increasing development of new coronavirus cases,” said Craig Johnson, technical market strategist at Piper Sandler, in a note .

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For the month of August, the major benchmarks will post modest gains. The S&P 500 is up 1.1% for the month to date, while the blue-chip Dow is up 0.5% and the Nasdaq is up 0.3%.

“August is a historically volatile month for the markets and this year is no different as investors are currently climbing multiple walls of worry,” said Rod von Lipsey, managing director of UBS Private Wealth Management. “Upward trends in Covid-19 cases and a downward spiral in Afghanistan are leading to a crisis of confidence at a time when many investors are on vacation.”