Wall Street ends higher as rising virus cases spur stimulus hopes


Investors were also clinging to hopes for more government stimulus after US House of Representatives Democrats on Thursday unveiled a $US1.5 trillion ($2.2 trillion) infrastructure bill in the same week that reports emerged of preparations by the Trump administration for a infrastructure stimulus plan.

“The good news from last week is dominating the bad news from today, which is the increase in COVID cases,” said Nela Richardson, investment strategist at Edward Jones, who cautioned that government infrastructure spending plans have failed to become reality several times in the recent past.

Richardson said rising virus case numbers spurred a rotation out of sectors hit hardest by coronavirus’ economic impacts into more resilient sectors such as technology.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 151.58 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 26,023.04, the S&P 500 gained 20.42 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 3,118.16 and the Nasdaq Composite added 110.35 points, or 1.11 per cent, to 10,056.48.

The ASX is also set for gains, with futures at 6.16am AEST pointing to a gain of 37 points, or 0.6 per cent, at the open.

US investors were also looking past the current quarter and into 2021, when earnings are expected to start improving according to Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.

Analysts expect a 42.7 per cent drop in earnings per share for the second quarter, according to estimates gathered by Refinitiv.

Of the S&P’s 11 major sectors, technology was leading the pack. However the next biggest gainer was the defensive utilities sector.

The market took a step back on Friday after Apple Inc’s move to temporarily shut some US stores again underscored concerns of a delay in the recovery.

But Apple shares were climbing on Monday and trading at record highs as the company announced new products at its annual conference for software developers.

Travel-related stocks were some of the weakest as those companies have been hit hard in the past by the virus lockdowns.

The S&P 1500 airlines index dropped, while shares of cruise operators Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises.

US-based meat processor Tyson slipped as China’s customs authority suspended imports of poultry products from a plant owned by the company that had been hit by the coronavirus.

American Airlines Group fell as it planned to secure $US3.5 billion in new financing by selling shares and convertible senior notes to boost liquidity.

Virgin Galactic soared as it signed up with NASA to develop a program to promote private missions to the International Space Station.



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