S&P 500 tops 3,000 pts on hopes of economic recovery, COVID-19 vaccine

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks jumped and the S&P 500 breached 3,000 points on Tuesday as optimism about a potential coronavirus vaccine and a revival in business activity helped investors overlook simmering Sino-U.S. tensions.

The benchmark index traded above the key psychological level and also above its 200-day moving average, a closely watched long-term trend indicator, for the first time since March 5.

All 11 S&P sector indexes gained in early trading, with cyclical financials .SPSY, industrials .SPLRCI and energy .SPNU stocks jumping more than 3%.

The S&P 500 has risen about 37% from its March lows on a raft of central bank and government stimulus, and is now just about 11% below its February record high.

On Monday, California decided to reopen in-store retail businesses and places of worship from one of the most restrictive shutdowns in the United States.

“People have been locked up and when they see sparkles of hope like vaccines, that drives optimism probably ahead of where it should be and clearly ahead of the economy,” said Richard Steinberg, chief market strategist at Colony Group in Florida.

At 10:01 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 575.66 points, or 2.35%, at 25,040.82, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 54.53 points, or 1.85%, at 3,009.98, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 126.77 points, or 1.36%, at 9,451.36.

U.S. biotech group Novavax Inc (NVAX.O) jumped 17.3% as it joined the race to test coronavirus vaccine candidates on humans and enrolled its first participants.

Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) added 1.5% as it announced plans to develop two separate vaccines.

But with U.S. unemployment soaring beyond 14% and macroeconomic data pointing at a deep recession, analysts warned financial markets could be betting on too fast a recovery.

“Business cycles don’t simply end in two to three months – in a way that’s what some of these sectors are pricing. It’s going to be very slow,” said Patrick Fruzzetti, managing director and senior research analyst at the Rosenau Group.

Related Coverage

  • Instant View: S&P rises above 3,000 level for first time since March

Beaten down travel-related stocks soared, with S&P 1500 airlines index .SPCOMAIR up 10.3% and cruise operators including Carnival Corp (CCL.N) more than 12%.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners more than 9-to-1 on the NYSE and 5-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 13 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 83 new highs and four new lows.

Source: Read Full Article