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Wall Street Rallies as Bulls Feast on Stimulus, Vaccine Optimism

imageStock Markets6 hours ago (Aug 05, 2020 04:04PM ET)

(C) Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim – Wall Street ended higher on Wednesday on optimism that U.S. lawmakers will agree to a fresh round of coronavirus stimulus sooner than later.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.39%, or 372 points. The S&P 500 gained 0.64%, to move within 2% of its all time high. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 0.52% to close at another record high.

A sea of green washed over stocks as investors cheered signs of progress on the virus aid bill, which many believe is critical to support the economy’s nascent recovery. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were said to have made some concessions to break the deadlock.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that he was “prepared to support” federal unemployment benefits being brought back at that $600/week level – a key sticking point that has been holding up progress.

The bill could also include further aid for airlines after 16 Republican Senators reportedly called for $25 billion in federal aid for the airline industry to be included in the virus relief package amid fears of looming job cuts as payroll assistance is set to end on Oct. 1.

American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) surged 10%, United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) was up 4% and Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) (NYSE:DAL) added 3%.

Investor sentiment was also helped by positive news on the vaccine front.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) announced a deal to develop 100 million doses of its potential Covid-19 vaccine for the US for $1 billion. Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) also revealed a positive update late Tuesday on its vaccine candidate, sending its shares up 10%.

Energy, meanwhile, added to gains from a day earlier, underpinned by rising oil prices amid data showing a weekly fall in U.S. crude stockpiles.

Crude inventories fell by 7.4 million barrels last week, a larger draw than the 3 million barrels expected, sending oil prices nearly 3% higher.

Financials were boosted by a 7% surge in Square (NYSE:SQ) after the payments company delivered better-than-expected quarterly results thanks to strong growth in its consumer payments app.

Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) jumped about 9% after revealing a surprise fiscal third quarter profit on cost cuts and strong growth in its streaming business. The company also said the remake of Mulan would be available to stream in September.

Elsewhere on the earnings front, Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) fell about 7% after reporting mixed results as earnings were in-line, but revenue fell short of estimates. The company also flagged higher than expected costs and weakness in its food service channel.

“(T)he quality of results was weaker than we expected with the exclusion of $7.4M of COVID costs and donations and U.S. Foodservice channel sales down 59% with a slow exit rate for sequential recovery,” Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN) said in a note.

In tech, the “Fab 5” pared losses to end mostly higher. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose, while Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was lower.

On the economic front, U.S. services activity in July topped estimates, but the labor market continues to show signs of weakness ahead of the nonfarm payrolls report later this week.

The U.S. private sector added 167,000 jobs in July, short of forecasts of 1.5 million jobs.

Wall Street Rallies as Bulls Feast on Stimulus, Vaccine Optimism

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