Stocks – Wall Street Higher Early on Hope of Virus Peaking; Dow up 1000

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Investing.com — U.S. stock markets were sharply higher in early trading on Monday after data over the weekend suggested that the Coronavirus epidemic in Europe may be peaking, and that the same may be true in at least some of the U.S.’s hotspots soon.

By 10:20 AM ET (1420 GMT),. the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1050 points, or 5.0%, at 22,141 points, its highest in nearly a week. The S&P 500 was up 5.0% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 4.9%

The news followed announcements at the weekend that daily deaths from the Covid-19 virus had fallen in Spain and Italy, the two worst-affected countries in Europe. 

While U.S. data are harder to interpret and point mainly to a higher death toll in the next few days, President Donald Trump reiterated his upbeat belief that a turnaround is in sight, tweeting “LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!” 

Among the biggest gainers was JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) stock, which rose 6.1% as CEO Jamie Dimon downplayed the risk of suspending the bank’s dividend, even though he admitted that a “bad recession” is coming to the U.S. that may leave the bank sitting on heavy credit losses.

The DJIA was also lifted by a 5.2% increase in index heavyweight Boeing, which had extended the shutdown of its key Seattle production facilities indefinitely at the weekend. Boeing  (NYSE:BA) stock was up 5.4%

Slack Technologies  (NYSE:WORK) stock was a standout loser, falling 1.7% after the messaging app filed plans to raise $600 million through convertible debt due in 2025. The notes would be the company’s first long-term debt. Slack is still to turn a profit.

Oil and gas stocks were mixed as U.S. crude futures lost some of their stellar gains on Friday due to fears that the production cut promised by President Trump may not materialize. Trump’s meetings with U.S. oil bosses at the weekend resulted in only threats of tariffs against foreign oil, rather than any sign of a cut in U.S. output that Russia and Saudi Arabia are looking for. 

Occidental Petroleum  (NYSE:OXY) was down 1.2%, while Apache  (NYSE:APA) stock was up 6.5% and Continental Resources  (NYSE:CLR) and Exxon Mobil  (NYSE:XOM) stock were both up 2.3%.

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