S&P 500 and Dow Jones Advance as Gilead Data Compensates for Virus Problems

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and The Dow advanced on Friday as a positive update for Gilead’s antiviral medication to treat nerves countered COVID-19 following a record increase in threatening coronavirus cases in the United States at Corporate America.

Gilead’s remdesivir significantly improved clinical recovery and reduced the risk of death in COVID-19 patients, additional data from an advanced study showed. The drug manufacturer’s share increased by 2.1%, believing that this conclusion should be confirmed in clinical trials.

The United States recorded the largest one-day increase in new COVID-19 infections in the world for the second consecutive day Thursday, forcing Americans to take further precautions. Several states have already backed down on reopening plans.

“This market is psychologically focused on coronavirus news, and it’s a battle of positive stories against negative news,” said Mike Zigmont, head of trading and research at Harvest Volatility Management in New York.

A list of economic data, including a record monthly increase in the wage bill, indicated a resumption of business activity in June, fueling the rally spurred by the US stock market.

The S&P 500 has risen more than 40% from its March lows and is about 8% below its February record.

Tech stocks weakened, pulling the Nasdaq from its third closing record this week.

Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Citigroup Inc (CN), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Goldman Sachs (GS.N) rose 3.2% to 3.8% before their financial results la next week, which marks the start of the second quarter earnings season.

The overall profits of S&P 500 companies should plunge the most since the financial crisis, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

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“With earnings expectations so low, investors believe they are more likely to be exceeded than to fall even more,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.

At 12:48 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 191.83 points, or 0.75%, to 25,897.92, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 12.25 points, or 0.39%, to 3,164.30. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC lost 2.73 points, or 0.03%, to 10,545.02.

Carnival Corp (CCL.N) jumped 8.4% after cruise line operator said it plans to resume operations gradually and will operate with a smaller fleet upon return .

Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) rose 6.5% after Goldman Sachs raised its price target on the shares of the video streaming service.

Growing issues outnumbered declines by 2.17: 1 on the NYSE and 1.40: 1 on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 15 new highs over 52 weeks and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 67 new highs and 16 new lows.

Source: Reuters

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