Jessica Menton
USA TODAYPublished 11:00 AM EDT Jul 1, 2020Stocks were on track for their third straight day of gains Wednesday after closing out their best quarter in decades, as positive vaccine news and upbeat employment data helped investors shake off a spike in coronavirus cases.The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 200 points, after rebounding to its best quarter since 1987 following the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.5%, driven by gains in health-care companies. The second-quarter gains were the best since 1998 for the S&P 500 index as hopes for a vaccine and an easing of economic lockdowns spurred market confidence. Stocks kicked off the third quarter higher after an experimental vaccine being developed by Pfizer and biotech firm BioNTech was shown to generate antibodies against the virus. Shares of Pfizer, a Dow component, jumped 5%.House hunting hurdles: COVID hasn’t stopped the housing market, but good luck finding a home you can affordA dream home, a vintage school bus and quirky skates: Here’s what couples are buying with their pandemic wedding fundsBetter-than-expected employment data also provided a boost to investor sentiment. Payrolls processor ADP said private payrolls rose by 2.4 million in June, slightly below economists estimates, but May’s number saw an upward revision from an initially reported loss of 2.76 million to a gain of 3 million.Investors will get further clues about the health of the economy when weekly unemployment aid applications and the June jobs report are both released Thursday. Stocks markets are closed Friday in observance of July 4.To be sure, a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in some countries, particularly the U.S., has tempered optimism in recent weeks.On Tuesday, 44,766 new cases were confirmed nationwide, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health, warned that new infections could increase to 100,000 a day if the nation doesn’t get the ongoing surge under control.“The U.S. remains the key hotspot for investors, with Florida and Texas potentially the first of many states that will require another a second bout of restrictions if the virus is to be brought under control,” Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG, an online trading provider, wrote in a note.On Wednesday, FedEx jumped 15.9% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after it reported better results for the latest quarter than Wall Street expected. A boom in online shopping helped drive revenue for FedEx’s ground-delivery business.United Airlines leaped 9% after it said it’s adding nearly 25,000 flights flights to its August schedule, compared with July. The airline said that some fliers are starting to return to the skies for leisure trips, though its August schedule will still be about 60% below year-ago levels.Other travel-related stocks were also strong, with Royal Caribbean Cruises up 8.3% and Marriott International up 4.7%.The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.68% from 0.65% late Tuesday. It tends to move with investors’ expectations for the economy and inflation.A barrel of U.S. crude oil rose 0.6% to $39.50. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 1.1% to $41.72.In Europe, France’s CAC 40 fell 1.6% while Germany’s DAX shed 1.5%. Britain’s FTSE 100 was 1.3% lower.Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped nearly 0.8%. South Korea’s Kospi inched down nearly 0.1%. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 gained 0.6%. The Shanghai Composite rose 1.4% while trading was closed in Hong Kong for a holiday.Contributing: The Associated Press


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