Investors got a bit of respite Tuesday morning, as the stock market calmed down somewhat after the nearly 3,000-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) on Monday. Even though many sectors of the market, such as retail and energy, continued to reel from the implications of the COVID-19 outbreak, investors seemed to be in a mood to try to find candidates for recovery if fiscal stimulus and healthcare innovation helps end the crisis surrounding the pandemic. As of 11:15 a.m. EDT, the Dow was up 439 points to 20,628. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) rose 96 points to 2,483, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) gained 298 points to 7,202.
The impact of the coronavirus has created winners and losers in the market, albeit with more of a bias toward the downside. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) joined the list of healthcare companies creating hope for a potential resolution to the pandemic and saw its shares rise as a result. Meanwhile, Churchill Downs (NASDAQ:CHDN) became the latest sports venue to delay a key event in the wake of the pandemic and the government's urging to keep people from gathering in large groups.
Regeneron has high hopes
Shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals jumped 12% Tuesday morning. The biotech company announced encouraging news that it hopes will help lead to potential breakthroughs in the fight against COVID-19.
Regeneron has found hundreds of antibodies in current studies that it sees as neutralizing viruses and compatible with human physiology. The company believes these antibodies could help it put together a treatment for those who have COVID-19 or as a preventative measure for those who haven't yet been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Going forward, Regeneron expects to pick the most promising antibodies and then incorporate them into a cocktail treatment. It hopes to start clinical studies by early summer, and it's boosting production capabilities now in anticipation of the huge demand that would result if its efforts are successful.
Regeneron emphasized that this program is just one way that the company is fighting coronavirus; it also has a separate clinical program looking at the use of receptor antibody Kevzara for use in severe COVID-19 patients. Given the global need for healthcare solutions to the pandemic, any victory could be a game-changer for the biotech company and its investors.
A September visit to My Old Kentucky Home
Shares of Churchill Downs dropped 5%, missing out on the market's modest rally. The Louisville-based racetrack operator made the painful decision to delay the Kentucky Derby in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby was rescheduled from May 2 to Sept. 5, pending approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. The company expects to get that approval later this week. The accompanying Kentucky Oaks race, which traditionally runs the day before the Derby, will similarly move to Sept. 4.
Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen echoed the sentiments that people around the world have heard countless times now, assuring race fans that "our first priority has been how to best protect the safety and health of our guests, team members, and community." At no point has Churchill Downs considered canceling the Derby outright, and Carstanjen remains adamant that the race will happen at some point.
The racetrack operator has already made decisions to run minor races with no fans present, but given the importance of the Derby, the postponement seemed like the best choice of a bad lot. Now, race fans will have to hope that a solution to the outbreak comes in time to sing "My Old Kentucky Home" on Labor Day weekend.