Stock futures rise with the Dow set to gain about 300 points at the open

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Source: NYSE

U.S. stock futures rose early Monday as investors continued to rotate into underperforming names dependent on a vaccine reopening the economy.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 303 points, or 1%. The move implied an opening gain of more than 300 points. S&P 500 futures rose 0.9% and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.6%.

The Dow is just about 72 points shy of a record close. Last week, the Dow climbed 4% for its second-straight positive week. The S&P 500 posted a record closing high on Friday and notched a one-week gain of 2.2%. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, however, sliding 0.6%.

Those moves came as traders piled into beaten-down value names at the expense of high-flying growth stocks amid positive vaccine news. The iShares Russell 1000 Value exchange-traded fund (IWD) rallied 5.7% last week while its growth counterpart, the iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (IWF) slid 1.2%.

Pfizer and BioNTech said last week that their coronavirus vaccine candidate was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 among participants without evidence of prior infection. The news sparked hope for an economic recovery, thus making travel stocks such as United Airlines and Carnival more attractive. United and Carnival rallied 12.4% and 15.9%, respectively, last week.

United was up another 4% in premarket trading Monday, while Carnival was up another 5%.

“The announcement of an effective Covid-19 vaccine by Pfizer/BioNTech last week was so important that we almost forget that there has just been a U.S. presidential election,” TS Lombard analysts Steven Blitz and Andrea Cicione wrote in a note.

“The vaccine turns what could have been a prolonged crisis into something closer to a natural disaster (large shock, swift recovery),” they said. “Without an effective vaccine, current EPS consensus expectations (pointing to a return to trend by the end of next year) would be on the optimistic side. But with one, they may actually come to pass.”

To be sure, the number of coronavirus cases are still rising, thus threatening the prospects of a swift economic recovery.

More than 11 million Covid-19 infections have been confirmed in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Data from the COVID Tracking Project also showed that a record of more than 68,500 people in the U.S. are hospitalized with the coronavirus.

Dan Russo, chief market strategist at Chaikin Analytics, thinks the market can weather this latest spike in coronavirus cases, however.

“it seems that investors are more focused on vaccine news and are willing to look past the near-term spike in cases,” he said in a post. “If this becomes a cause for concern for investors, it will become apparent on the charts and risk management will take over.”

Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.