US stocks end higher on improving coronavirus outlook

By: AFP      Published: 01:44 AM, 15 Apr, 2020
US stocks end higher on improving coronavirus outlook

Wall Street stocks finished solidly higher Tuesday as markets embraced better coronavirus case counts in some hotspots, even as banking earnings pointed to economic weakness.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 550 points, or 2.4 percent, at 23,949.76.

The broad-based S&P 500 jumped 3.1 percent to 2,846.06, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index surged 4.0 percent to 8,515.74.

Tuesday’s gains marked the latest positive day for stocks since officials in New York and some other hotspots pointed to progress in cutting the number of new coronavirus cases.

Some international markets, including Italy and Austria, have relaxed some lockdown measures as US officials begin to tackle the question of how to safely reopen the economy.

Still, there were plenty of fresh signs of gloom.

The International Monetary Fund said the downturn will slash $9 trillion from the global economy in the worst downturn in almost a century.

Earnings results from large banks also raised red flags, with JPMorgan Chase falling 2.7 percent and Wells Fargo shedding 4.0 after both banks set aside billions of dollars to cover potential loan defaults.

Boeing was another laggard, dropping 4.2 percent as it disclosed additional plane order cancelations while it contends with the coronavirus crisis on top of the continued issues with the 737 MAX, which remains grounded following two deadly crashes.

But Johnson & Johnson surged 4.4 percent as it trimmed its full-year forecast due to the coronavirus, but lifted its dividend as it works to develop a vaccine for Covid-19.