/Dow climbs 691 points as healthcare firms make progress towards coronavirus treatment

Dow climbs 691 points as healthcare firms make progress towards coronavirus treatment


traderReuters

  • US stocks rose on Monday as investors digested a slew of updates about the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Healthcare stocks led gains, rallying on developments in rapid testing and a potential coronavirus vaccine.
  • President Donald Trump on Sunday extended federal social-distancing guidelines to April 30, abandoning hopes that the US economy could reopen by Easter.
  • Confirmed global cases of COVID-19 have surged past 735,000, and the death toll continues to rise.
  • Read more on Business Insider.

US stocks rose on Monday as investors weighed expanded efforts in the US to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak as well as increased hopes for rapid testing and a vaccine. Healthcare stocks were notable outperformers.

Abbott Laboratories jumped as much as 13% after it received emergency-use approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. The company developed a COVID-19 test that delivers positive results in five minutes and negative ones in 13 minutes.

Johnson & Johnson also gained as much as 8% after it said it selected a lead candidate for a coronavirus vaccine and planned to start testing in September.

Here’s where the major US indexes stood at the market close on Monday:

Read more: 200-plus money managers pay thousands to see what stocks are on Jim Osman’s buy list. Here are 3 he says are set to soar ‘at least 50%’ from their coronavirus-stricken levels.

Investors were also encouraged by signs that the US government is taking coronavirus-containment efforts seriously. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that federal social-distancing measures in the US would continue through April 30, casting aside earlier statements he made about easing restrictions and reopening the US economy by April 12.

Global cases of COVID-19 have surged to more than 770,000 and deaths to more than 36,000.

Oil slumped on Monday to close at an 18-year low as the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on demand, halting travel and slowing economic activity around the world. Meanwhile, a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia has threatened to create a record supply glut.

“We should expect volatility and the market to retest lows for a while,” Ed Campbell, a portfolio manager and managing director at QMA, told Business Insider. “We are going to be in the midst of this process for a while.”

Read more: UBS outlines 3 major investing themes the coronavirus crisis is shaping today — and breaks down they’ll play out in the years to come

Investors are looking for signs that lockdowns are working in countries outside of Asia, according to Campbell. A peak and eventual decline in new cases could be an important inflection point for markets because it would create the sense that lockdowns had contained the virus in other Western economies, he said.

“At that point we’d be on the road to returning to some semblance of normalcy,” Campbell said.

In addition, Congress may be working on extra stimulus relief, Reuters reported over the weekend. A bill would be the fourth legislative-aid package meant to bolster the US economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump signed a historic $2 trillion bill into law last week.

“Investors are likely assuming that in a matter of several weeks or a couple of months, we may return to normal, but that may prove to be a very risky bet,” Hussein Sayed, the chief market strategist at FXTM, told Business Insider. Until investors see a “major decline” in the number of COVID-19 cases, “any rally in risk assets may prove to be temporary,” he said.

Investors will be up against more economic data this week showing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the US. The first quarter ends on Tuesday, the last day of March, marking a key day for businesses that may struggle to pay bills. The US manufacturing purchasing managers’ index will be released on Wednesday, followed by weekly jobless claims on Thursday and the March jobs report on Friday.

Read more: Stocks are trading like they did early in the financial crisis — and it’s proof to one Wall Street equity chief that the coronavirus crash will worsen

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