Wall Street closes higher as recovery signs soothe protest, pandemic worries

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks posted gains on Monday as signs of U.S. economic recovery helped offset jitters over increasingly violent social unrest amid an ongoing pandemic and rising U.S.-China tensions.

All three major stock indexes began the month with gains of less than 1% on the heels of a strong May rally.

Market leaders Facebook Inc (FB.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Amazon.com (AMZN.O) provided the biggest lift to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, while Boeing Co (BA.N) gave the Dow its biggest boost.

“Certainly the pace of the stock market recovery can’t continue at the pace it has been,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago. “I’m stunned at how well the market’s been doing.”

The White House called for “law and order” after six nights of widespread, violent demonstrations triggered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, even as the country reels from the economic effects of pandemic-related lockdowns.

“Most investors are saying (the protests) aren’t going to destroy the economy,” Nolte added. “It’s a roadblock but it’s not as big as a pandemic.”

The unrest has prompted retailers such as Target Corp (TGT.N) and Walmart Inc (WMT.N) to shutter a portion of their stores, while Amazon.com (AMZN.O) has scaled back deliveries.

Further weighing on sentiment, China ordered state-owned firms to halt purchases of U.S. soybeans and pork, in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would end special treatment for Hong Kong following China’s move to tighten security measures in the territory.

But economic data boosted investor sentiment, with the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) purchasing managers’ index (PMI) showing the contraction of factory activity was slowing.

A fuller picture of the economic damage wrought by pandemic-related lockdowns is expected on Friday, when the Labor Department’s jobs report is expected to show unemployment skyrocketing to 19.7%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 91.91 points, or 0.36%, to 25,475.02, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 11.42 points, or 0.38%, to 3,055.73 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 62.18 points, or 0.66%, to 9,552.05.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but healthcare .SPXHC ended the session in positive territory.

Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) fell 7.1% after the drugmaker’s breast cancer treatment was deemed unlikely to meet the main goal of a late-stage study.

Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O) slid 3.4% following mixed results in a late-stage study of its COVID-19 drug candidate, remdesivir.

Meanwhile, rivals firms CTI Biopharma Corp (CTIC.O) and Proteostasis Therapeutics Inc (PTI.O) advanced 16.7% and 8.4%, respectively following reports that their potential COVID-19 treatments showed promise.

Shares in cosmetics company Coty Inc (COTY.N) jumped 20.9% after the appointment of Chairman Peter Harf as its new chief executive officer.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.26-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.58-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 20 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 98 new highs and 10 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 9.95 billion shares, compared with the 11.30 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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Wall Street ends mostly up; Trump comments on China but takes no action on trade

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks finished mostly higher on Friday after President Donald Trump announced measures against China in response to new security legislation that were less threatening to the U.S. economy than investors had feared.

The Dow ended the session slightly lower, but all three indexes registered gains for the month and the week.

The S&P 500 initially extended losses after Trump said he was directing his administration to begin the process of eliminating special treatment for Hong Kong in response to China’s plans to impose new security legislation in the semi-autonomous territory.

But Trump made no mention of any action that could undermine the Phase One trade deal that Washington and Beijing struck early this year, a concern that had cast a cloud over the market throughout the week.

“He began speaking in a very tough tone,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte, North Carolina. “The market was worried he was going to announce something substantial, something detrimental to the U.S. economy. Then, as he spoke, it became clear the actions being taken were not going to be as dramatic as originally feared.”

Trump also said the United States is terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization, something he had threatened to do earlier this month.

S&P 500 technology shares .SPLRCT gave the index its biggest boost, while financials .SPSY were the biggest drag.

The latest confrontation between the U.S. and China has fueled concern that worsening tensions between the two world’s largest economies could derail the recent sharp gains in the stock market.

Expectations of a quick economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic have driven the S&P 500 .SPX up more than 30% from its March lows.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 17.53 points, or 0.07%, to 25,383.11, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 14.58 points, or 0.48%, to 3,044.31, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 120.88 points, or 1.29%, to 9,489.87.

For the month, the Dow added 3.9%, the S&P 500 gained 4.5%, and the Nasdaq rose 6.8%. For the week, the Dow and S&P 500 each rose more than 3%, and the Nasdaq gained 1.8%.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that New York City is “on track” to enter phase one of reopening on June 8, and he said five upstate regions will now transition to phase two.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, speaking in a webcast organized by Princeton University Friday, reiterated the U.S. central bank’s promise to use its tools to shore up the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Twitter (TWTR.N) was down 2% and Facebook Inc (FB.O) shares slipped 0.2%, a day after Trump signed an order threatening social media firms with new regulations over free speech.

Upscale department store chain Nordstrom Inc (JWN.N) slumped 11% after it reported a near 40% fall in quarterly sales due to pandemic-led store closures.

Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N) slipped 3.5% as the cloud-based business software maker cut its annual revenue and profit forecasts.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.04-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.04-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 17 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 60 new highs and 14 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 13.62 billion shares, compared to the 11.3 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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Wall Street rises with economic hopes; bank stocks jump

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 closing above 3,000 for the first time since March 5, as the further easing of lockdowns lifted optimism for an economic recovery.

Bank stocks powered the day’s advance, with the S&P 500 financial index .SPSY leading gains among major sectors. The index rose nearly 10% over the past two sessions for its biggest two-day increase since April 8-9.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) was the leading point gainer in the financial index, rising 5.8% as the stock surged for a second day in a row. The bank’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, said Tuesday he expects JPMorgan will boost its credit reserves again in the second quarter, but said there are signs the economy is regaining its footing.

After-the-bell on Wednesday, the head of JPMorgan’s corporate and investment banking division said second-quarter revenues are on track to be more than 50% higher than the same period last year.

Continued easing of lockdowns, optimism about an eventual COVID-19 vaccine and massive U.S. stimulus have been driving the market’s recent gains. On Wednesday, Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) announced plans to begin reopening its Walt Disney World resort in Florida, the world’s largest theme park, in phases beginning July 11, and MGM Resorts (MGM.N) said it would reopen its four Las Vegas casinos on June 4.

“It’s all about liquidity and the hopes that the economy will eventually do well,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“The rally will continue, but I don’t think it will continue without pullbacks,” he said, noting that weak second-quarter earnings could give investors a “reality check.”

Tech-related shares underperformed the broader market on Wednesday after leading the recent rally.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 553.16 points, or 2.21%, to 25,548.27, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 44.36 points, or 1.48%, to 3,036.13, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 72.14 points, or 0.77%, to 9,412.36.

Amid the recent gains, U.S. tensions with China have cast a cloud on markets.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Washington would announce its response to China’s planned national security legislation on Hong Kong before the end of the week. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that Hong Kong no longer warrants special treatment under U.S. law as it did when it was under British rule, potentially a big blow to its status as a major financial hub.

Tech-related shares are among the most sensitive to Chinese growth, said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute in St. Louis.

“If the market is going to go higher from here, you’re going to have to have broader participation, but you are going to need those large-cap tech companies to be along for the ride because they make up such a large portion of the benchmark,” Samana said.

Also on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report showed that U.S. businesses continued to be hammered by the effects of the novel coronavirus epidemic into the middle of May.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.81-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.21-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted seven new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 41 new highs and 10 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 12.86 billion shares, compared to the 11.33 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

(This story has been refiled to delete extraneous words in 3rd paragraph)

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Wall Street mixed as China-U.S. tensions weigh

(Reuters) – Wall Street was mixed on Friday in a mostly tame finish to a week of strong gains, as investors gauged China-U.S. tensions and amid ongoing uncertainty about the pace of economic recovery from the coronavirus.

President Donald Trump’s warning on Thursday that the U.S. would react strongly to China’s plan for a national security law in Hong Kong has raised concerns over Washington and Beijing’s possibly reneging on their Phase 1 trade deal.

The rhetoric knocked Wall Street off multi-month highs, although the main indexes were still set to add over 2% for the week, fueled by optimism about an eventual coronavirus vaccine and the easing of virus-related curbs.

“The biggest thing out there today is the Hong Kong/China saber rattling,” said Eric Freedman, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “We still think COVID-19 concerns are in the driver’s seat, but we could see U.S.-China relations move back into the front seat.”

The Nasdaq index is down about 5% from its Feb. 19 record high, helped in recent weeks by gains in Microsoft , Amazon and other heavyweight companies seen coming out of the economic downturn stronger than their smaller rivals.

At 2:17 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.11% at 24,446.31 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.14% to 2,952.58. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.36% to 9,318.50.

Six of the 11 major S&P 500 sector indexes were lower, with energy dropping more than 1% as oil prices sank 5%. [O/R]

Mixed earnings from retailers Walmart Inc, Best Buy Co Inc and Home Depot Inc earlier this week showed online shopping gaining traction with the lockdown orders, a trend that could damage brick-and-mortar players already feeling pressure from internet rivals.

On Friday, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group reported better-than-expected quarterly profit, but its shares tumbled almost 6%. Smaller rival Pinduoduo Inc’s U.S.-listed shares surged 11% after the company posted upbeat results.

Nvidia rose 2.8% after forecasting strong quarterly revenue as demand surges for its data center chips.

KKR & Co rose 0.9% after India’s Reliance Industries said the private equity firm would buy a 2.3% stake in its digital unit for 113.67 billion rupees ($1.50 billion).

Data analytics software maker Splunk Inc jumped 12% after it said it expects more demand for its cloud services.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.11-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.03-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted five new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 52 new highs and eight new lows.

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U.S.-China tensions pull Wall Street lower

(Reuters) – Wall Street receded on Thursday, a day after hitting two-month highs, on a fresh wave of China-U.S. tensions, raising doubts about the trade deal reached early this year between the world’s two largest economies.

President Donald Trump said the United States would react strongly if China imposes national security laws for Hong Kong in response to last year’s often violent pro-democracy protests.

Earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, while a Chinese official said the country will not flinch from any escalation in tensions.

The recent souring relations between the world’s two largest economies over the coronavirus pandemic has raised doubts about the Phase 1 trade deal signed earlier this year, interrupting a rally on the U.S. stock market.

“It seems like China is going to be used as a punching bag for the upcoming elections,” said Bob Shea, CEO and co-chief investment officer at TrimTabs Asset Management in New York.

“The White House has resolved to itself that it is more effective to swing at China than to salvage what was going to already be a watered-down Phase 1 trade deal. You don’t score any points for that,” Shea said.

The S&P 500 has surged over 30% from its March low, but remains down more than 12% from its February record high.

The Nasdaq is less than 5% below its February record high, fueled in recent week by gains in Microsoft (MSFT.O), Amazon.com (AMZN.O) and other technology heavyweights that many investors expect to emerge from the crisis stronger than smaller rivals.

At 2:22 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 0.11% at 24,547.99 points, while the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.42% to 2,959.2. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.47% to 9,331.64.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sector indexes were lower. Energy .SPNY, down 1%, fell the most.

Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N) fell 3.6% after the electronics retailer reported a 5.3% drop in quarterly same-store sales due to the virus. L Brands Inc (LB.N) surged 20% despite posting worse-than-expected quarterly results but said it will scale down its struggling Victoria’s Secret unit

Discount chain owner TJX (TJX.N) jumped 6.8% to a more than two-month high after it flagged strong sales at its stores that have reopened after lockdowns.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.11-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.02-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted five new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 51 new highs and four new lows.

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S&P 500 tumbles on fears of virus resurgence in economic reopening

New York (Reuters) – The S&P 500 dropped 2% on Tuesday as investors took profits following a warning from the top U.S. infectious disease expert that premature moves to reopen the nation’s economy could lead to novel coronavirus outbreaks and set back economic recovery.

The index suffered its first decline in four sessions as investors weighed the potential for a second wave of virus infections against hopes that easing of stay-at-home restrictions could ignite a recovery in the U.S. economy, which has been severely damaged by the virus.

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Congress that the virus, which has already killed 80,000 Americans, was not yet under control and that there would not likely be a treatment or vaccine in place by late August or early September.

“There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control and … could even set you back on the road to try to get economic recovery,” Fauci said of premature steps.

And reports of new clusters of coronavirus infections in countries such as China, South Korea and Germany where lockdowns had been lifted appear to have added to worries.

Optimism about an economic recovery and massive stimulus measures have helped the S&P 500 climb about 34% to Tuesday’s intraday high from the March 23 low of the pandemic-driven selloff.

“It goes back to science versus the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve has been supportive of the market … What’s going to win here?,” said Phil Blancato, chief executive of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management in New York.

“From the science viewpoint if we open too quickly, we’ll just go back to where we were. But if we don’t open at all, we have this economic malaise.”

With concerns about potential for declines, participants like Dennis Dick, proprietary trader at Bright Trading LLC in Las Vegas, were anxious to lock in their profits.

“People are very nervous about how the reopening is going to go,” he said.

Wall Street’s three major averages closed around their session lows. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 457.21 points, or 1.89%, to 23,764.78, the S&P 500 lost 60.2 points, or 2.05%, to 2,870.12 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 189.79 points, or 2.06%, to 9,002.55.

The Cboe Volatility Index, known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, ended 5.47 points higher at 33.04. It was the biggest one-day point gain for the VIX in more than three weeks.

Among the S&P’s 11 major sectors, real estate was the biggest percentage decliner with a 4.3% drop.

Industrials and financials were the next biggest laggards with respective declines of 2.8% and 2.7%.

Tuesday’s data showed that U.S. consumer prices dropped by the most since the Great Recession in April, due to a plunge in demand for gasoline and services including airline travel as people stayed home during the coronavirus crisis.

But prices for food consumed at home rose 2.6% in the largest advance since February 1974, leaving some investors anxious about the prospect of stagflation, if consumers cannot keep up with price increases for essentials.

“What happens if the cost of essential goods get more expensive and you’re not earning enough money. That could become really problematic,” said Ladenburg Thalmann’s Blancato.

Helping to drag down the financial sector was a 7.8% drop in BlackRock Inc, after its top shareholder PNC Financial Services Group Inc said it planned to sell its entire 22% stake in the world’s largest asset manager.

Online food delivery company GrubHub Inc surged 29% after a person familiar with the matter said Uber Technologies Inc was in advanced talks to buy the company in an all-stock deal.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.91-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.65-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted nine new 52-week highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 91 new highs and 42 new lows.

On U.S. exchanges 11.28 billion shares changed hands compared with the 11.36 billion average for the last 20 sessions.

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Brazil launches military operations to protect Amazon rainforest

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil deployed thousands of soldiers to protect the Amazon rainforest on Monday, taking precautions to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus, as the government mounts an early response to surging deforestation ahead of the high season for forest fires.

The armed forces, alongside environmental officials, police and other government agencies, began with an operation in a national forest in Rondonia state, near the Bolivian border, Vice President Hamilton Mourao said at a news conference.

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon surged 55% in the first four months of the year compared with the same period of 2019, according to government data released on Friday. The destruction hit an 11-year high last year, spurring outcry that Brazil was not doing enough to protect the world’s largest rainforest.

“We don’t want to be labeled by the rest of the world as an environmental villain,” Mourao said.

President Jair Bolsonaro authorized the deployment, sending in troops three months earlier than in 2019, when Amazon fires grabbed global headlines.

Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo said the armed forces are establishing bases in three Amazon cities, with 3,800 troops mobilized against illegal logging and other crimes, at an initial operational cost of 60 million reais ($10 million).

Azevedo said each base was also assigned five specialists in chemical warfare to help avoid spreading the novel coronavirus through the operations.

The military is currently authorized for deployment for 30 days ending June 10. That could be extended with the approach of the dry season, when forest fires generally spread, and the military will seek to assist in fire prevention, Mourao said.

“We have no doubt this problem will continue to exist,” he said. “We don’t consider this the best job for the armed forces, to be always engaged in this type of action, but unfortunately it’s the means we have to limit these crimes from happening.”

The armed forces will continue to be used until environmental agencies, like the main enforcement agency Ibama, increase their staff, Mourao said. An economic downturn and budget restrictions have prevented Ibama from hiring new agents, thinning its ranks.

Environment Minister Ricardo Salles acknowledged that government data showed rising deforestation this year. He said that the coronavirus outbreak had “aggravated” the situation, without elaborating.

Salles said he was confident the government’s actions under Mourao’s direction would succeed in lowering deforestation from the elevated levels seen in the last two years.

($1 = 5.8160 reais)

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Wall Street rises on better-than-feared jobs report, easing Sino-U.S. tension

(Reuters) – U.S. stock markets gained on Friday after data showed the economy lost fewer jobs in April than feared due to the coronavirus crisis, adding to optimism from an easing in friction between Washington and Beijing.

All the 11 S&P sectors were trading higher, with the defensive real estate .SPLRCR, utilities .SPLRCU and consumer staples .SPLRCS indexes posting some of the biggest gains.

Official figures showed nonfarm payrolls plummeted 20.5 million in April – their steepest plunge since the Great Depression – but the number was still better than the 22 million forecast by economists polled by Reuters.

“There were whispers that the number could come in much worse,” said Darrell Cronk, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Wealth & Investment Management in New York.

“The fact they didn’t come in higher is a bit of a relief rally. The market is exhaling a little bit on the fact that the worst jobs report in modern history wasn’t even worse.”

Wall Street’s indexes are now on course for their first weekly increase in three, with the Nasdaq recouping all its losses for 2020, as investors pinned their hopes on supply chains coming back on track and a revival in consumer spending after several U.S. states reopened economies.

On Thursday, financial markets began pricing in a negative U.S. interest rate environment for the first time ever, expecting the Federal Reserve to pump even more cash into the system to rescue the economy from a deep global recession.

Wall Street’s fear gauge slipped to its lowest since early March, consistently easing from levels last seen during the global financial crisis.

“The disconnect between sanguine financial markets and an imploding real economy grows larger by the day as bets for more and more stimulus are leading Wall Street to turn a blind eye to how catastrophic economic data really are,” said Marios Hadjikyriacos, investment analyst at online broker XM.

Also lifting the mood on Friday, Beijing said Sino-U.S. trade negotiators had agreed to improve the atmosphere for the implementation of a Phase 1 deal, days after President Donald Trump threatened to impose new tariffs.

At 10:09 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 320.09 points, or 1.34%, at 24,195.98, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 33.70 points, or 1.17%, at 2,914.89. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 84.69 points, or 0.94%, at 9,064.35.

Financial stocks .SPSY tracked a rise in Treasury yields, while energy stocks .SPNY jumped on the back of higher oil prices. [US/] [O/R]

Disney rose 2.3% as tickets for the earliest days of Shanghai Disneyland’s re-opening in China sold out rapidly.

Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) jumped 4% as the company said its ride service bookings recovered in recent weeks and that it expects a coronavirus-related slowdown will delay the goal of becoming profitable by a matter of quarters, not years.

But Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp (CTSH.O) fell 3.5% after the IT services and outsourcing firm warned of weak demand this year.

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Wall Street set to jump as China data fuels recovery hopes

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes were set to open sharply higher on Thursday after a surprise rise in Chinese exports and a surge in oil prices spurred hopes of an economic recovery, taking the sting off another gloomy weekly jobless claims report.

Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp rose more than 2% in premarket trading on optimism around future oil demand after China’s overseas shipments in April rose for the first time this year as factories raced to make up for lost sales.

Weapons maker Raytheon Technologies Corp jumped 4.7% to lead gains among Dow components, as Chief Financial Officer Toby O’Brien said he expected positive free cash flow in 2020, primarily driven by its defense business.

“With expectations just set so low, any positive news is really being welcomed, and the continuing negative news, to some extent, is being pushed to the side,” said Rick Meckler a partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.

U.S. stock indexes have rebounded sharply from a coronavirus-fueled selloff in March, powered by monetary and fiscal stimulus and, more recently, hard-hit states reopening businesses following sweeping lockdowns.

However, with the S&P 500 now about 16% below its record high, analysts have warned of another selloff with data revealing the extent of the pandemic’s economic damage and U.S.-China tensions resurfacing over the origin of the novel coronavirus.

Latest data showed 3.1 million Americans applied for state unemployment benefits last week, but the number marked the fifth straight weekly decrease in applications and raised hopes the worst of the outbreak’s impact on the labor market was over.

The weekly claims report followed news on Wednesday that private payrolls fell by a record 20.2 million in April, which set up the overall labor market for historic job losses. The Labor Department’s more comprehensive nonfarm payroll report is due on Friday.

“The stock market currently is not a true representation of the economy’s weakened status,” said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM.

“Investors are betting on a best-case economic recovery scenario supported by further easing measures. But predicting how asset prices play out during this pandemic is more of a guessing game than any form of true analysis.”

At 8:52 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 316 points, or 1.34%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 42.5 points, or 1.5% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 134.5 points, or 1.5%.

About 350 of the S&P 500 companies have reported so far and first-quarter earnings are expected to have fallen 12.4%, with analysts expecting an earnings recession by the second quarter, according to Refinitiv data.

PayPal Holdings Inc jumped 9.7% after the payments processor said it expected a strong recovery in payments volumes in the second quarter as social distancing drives more people to shop online.

Lyft Inc surged 15.2% as the ride-hailing company posted higher-than-expected revenue and vowed to further cut costs to become profitable. Rival Uber Technologies gained 7.8%.

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Wall Street gains on optimism over easing lockdowns

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes rose on Wednesday on hopes of a pickup in business activity as states eased coronavirus-induced curbs, with investors also looking past a stunning 20 million plunge in U.S. private payrolls last month.

Five of the 11 major S&P sectors were trading higher, with the technology index .SPLRCT leading gains as traders bought into stocks perceived to be resilient at a time when billions of people globally are still locked indoors.

U.S. stock indexes are now on course to gain for three straight sessions, building on a rally in April that was sparked by unprecedented stimulus and signs that the outbreak was peaking.

However, with macroeconomic data still foreshadowing a severe global recession, analysts have warned of another selloff, particularly if reopening of economies sparks another wave of infections.

Data on Wednesday showed U.S. private employers laid off a record 20.236 million workers in April, setting up the overall labor market for historic job losses last month.

The Labor Department’s more comprehensive report is due Friday, while a reading of initial jobless claims is set to be released on Thursday.

“We knew this was going to be bad so it matches the jobless claims. A lot of the bad news for April is pretty much factored in,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“But markets are looking at a potential recovery here, we’ve got a lot of states opening up. Businesses are starting to get going again, but the question is, is it too fast?”

At 10:45 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 60.78 points, or 0.25%, at 23,943.87, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 10.94 points, or 0.38%, at 2,879.38 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 97.84 points, or 1.11%, at 8,906.96.

The S&P financials index .SPSY was among the biggest decliners as the Treasury Department said it would launch a long-planned 20-year bond to meet record government borrowing needs amid the outbreak.

In company news, General Motors Co (GM.N) jumped 6.3% after the automaker topped first-quarter profit expectations and outlined plans for a May 18 restart of most of its North American plants.

CVS Health Corp (CVS.N) gained 2.6% after the company posted a better-than-expected first-quarter profit, as its pharmacy benefits management business and its drugstores benefited from customers stockpiling medicines due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI.O) rose 4.9% after raising its revenue forecast on higher demand for video games such as its “Call of Duty” amid lockdowns.

Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) added 3.7% after the company said it would reopen Shanghai Disneyland to a reduced number of visitors next week, even as it estimated a $1.4 billion hit to profit.

Advancing issues almost matched decliners on the NYSE and the Nasdaq. The S&P index recorded four new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 34 new highs and 11 new lows.

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