Wall Street gathers steam as U.S. states prepare to reopen


(Reuters) – U.S. stock markets jumped more than 1% on Monday as more states prepared to ease stay-at-home orders and investors geared up for one of the busiest weeks of quarterly earnings reports, including from tech titans Apple and Microsoft.

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in the financial district of lower Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S., April 26, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

The U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury yield US10YT=RR rose for the second straight session, lifting the rate-sensitive financial index .SPSY by 3%. Technology stocks .SPLRCT were also the top boosts to the three main indexes.

Wall Street’s fear gauge slipped for the fourth trading day to its lowest in more than seven weeks, with Colorado, Mississippi and Tennessee set to join other states in reopening businesses this week, despite disapproval from health experts.

Although trillions of dollars in stimulus have helped the S&P 500 .SPX recover nearly 30% from March lows, analysts say growing economic damage may cap further gains, unless there is progress on treatments for the disease.

Economists expect U.S. first-quarter GDP to have contracted 4% as shutdowns crushed production, supply chains and consumer spending, sparking millions of layoffs.

“Everyone’s excited that we will reopen, and there’s optimism around that but I would be a little concerned because what we really need is to return to normal for the markets to keep up with the optimism,” said Julia Carlson, chief executive of Financial Freedom Wealth Management Group in Oregon.

After the Bank of Japan rolled out more stimulus on Monday, focus this week will be on the Federal Reserve’s meeting ending on Wednesday.

At 12:54 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 280.36 points, or 1.18%, at 24,055.63, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 40.36 points, or 1.42%, at 2,877.10 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 102.21 points, or 1.18%, at 8,736.73.

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) jumped 7.8% and was the biggest boost to the Nasdaq after a report said the electric-car maker is calling some workers back to its California vehicle-assembly plant next week.

Humana Inc (HUM.N), Anthem Inc (ANTM.N) and Centene Corp (CNC.N) traded flat to up 1% after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of health insurers seeking $12 billion under a program set up by the Obamacare law aimed at encouraging them to offer medical coverage to uninsured Americans.

After a mixed bag of first-quarter earnings from the big U.S. banks and consumer discretionary firms, traders will turn to comments from Apple (AAPL.O), Amazon.com (AMZN.O), Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Boeing (BA.N) on their outlook for the year.

“Earnings are in some ways like economic data coming in – abhorrent at the moment, but something that markets will try and look through when that’s negative,” said Edward Park, deputy chief investment officer at London-based firm Brooks Macdonald.

“What really matters is – are we seeing progress in terms of new case growth, or what will easing of the lockdown look like, and which sectors will be involved.”

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.47-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 4.43-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded five new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 56 new highs and six new lows.

Reporting by C Nivedita and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Sagarika Jaisinghani and Arun Koyyur



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