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Stocks gain on hopes for virus medication, US stimulus boost

Agence France-Presse
Stocks gain on hopes for virus medication, US stimulus boost

(FILES) The Fearless Girl statue stands in front of the New York Stock Exchange at Wall Street in New York City on June 29, 2020. - US stocks opened the week like they closed last week: on a high note, amid news the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had authorized the use of a COVID-19 treatment. About 30 minutes into the August 24, 2020 trading session, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.5 percent to 28,081.45.The broad-based S&P 500 jumped 0.7 percent to 3,419.92, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index increased 0.8 percent to 11,400.51, remaining buoyant after more than 30 record closes in 2020. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)


Major US indices finish higher for a 3rd straight session on Friday, October 9, with the tech-rich Nasdaq jumping 1.4%

Global stocks mostly rose on Friday, October 9, amid increased hopes for a United States stimulus package following the latest statements from President Donald Trump and rising confidence about coronavirus therapeutics.

Major US indices finished higher for a 3rd straight session, with the tech-rich Nasdaq jumping 1.4% as the White House again shifted its stance on the talks.

Earlier, European bourses also climbed despite rising coronavirus cases in the continent.

After markets tanked on Tuesday, October 6, following President Donald Trump’s abrupt move to end stimulus talks, investors have cheered his about-face in subsequent days that’s seen him calling for a deal.

The White House on Friday beefed up its offer, proposing a $1.8-trillion package as Trump himself said on a radio show that he favored an even larger package.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there was not enough time to complete the talks before the election.

Still, analysts said the gains reflected confidence there would be a package soon.

Markets also cheered a write-up in the New England Journal of Medicine reporting that Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir drug resulted in “consistent, clinically meaningful improvements” in coronavirus patients, the latest positive indicator about a leading treatment.

That news follows announcements by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly earlier in the week on COVID-19 therapies that have boosted confidence in effectiveness of the treatments for the virus.

The market is “being stimulated more this week by the realization that there just might be a widespread, effective COVID treatment regimen that gets approved soon,” said analyst Patrick J. O’Hare.

“The gist is that, the more confidence there is in potential treatment plans, the more confidence there will be in a potential return to normal activity,” he added.

Analysts have also cited increased expectations that the US presidential election won’t be contested, given challenger Joe Biden’s widening lead over Trump in the polls. A drawn-out and litigious fight over the outcome has been a drag on sentiment in recent weeks.

Madrid in semi-lockdown

While US stimulus and the election are major drivers of markets, a surge in new virus infections in Europe is causing angst, with several countries reimposing fresh containment measures and considering localized lockdowns.

Spain’s government declared a state of emergency and new partial lockdown for virus-hit Madrid, while in France, another 4 cities were placed on maximum coronavirus alert on Thursday, October 8, meaning they will have to shut bars and limit public gatherings.

Britain’s economy expanded a weaker-than-expected 2.1% in August and remained far down from pre-pandemic levels, official data showed on Friday, with the government expanding help for workers whose businesses are forced to close.

Despite a 4th consecutive monthly increase, gross domestic product was 9.2% below February’s level, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.

Key figures around 7:30 pm GMT
  • New York – Dow Jones: UP 0.6% at 28,586.90 (close)
  • New York – S&P 500: UP 0.9% at 3,4,77.14 (close)
  • New York – Nasdaq: UP 1.4% at 11,579.94 (close)
  • London – FTSE 100: UP 0.7% at 6,016.65 (close)
  • Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.1% at 13,051.23 (close)
  • Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.7% at 4,946.81 (close)
  • EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5% at 3,273.12 (close)
  • Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.1% at 23,619.69 (close)
  • Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.3% at 24,119.13 (close)
  • Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.7% at 3,272.08 (close)
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1828 from $1.1759 at 9 pm GMT
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3045 from $1.2938
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.61 yen from 106.03
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.67 pence from 90.89 
  • West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.4% at $40.60 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.31.1% at $42.85 per barrel


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