Stocks rally as investors take heart on U.S. economic reopening plan

Business

Global stocks rallied on Friday on President Donald Trump’s plans to revive the coronavirus-hit U.S. economy and a report about a clinical trial for a potential drug to treat COVID-19, while the dollar fell amid investors’ growing risk-on sentiment.

The bulls charged ahead on a report that patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms had responded positively to Gilead Sciences’ (GILD.O) experimental drug remdesivir, lifting Gilead’s shares by 9.7%. Analysts and the company have urged caution on drawing any conclusions, however.

Boeing’s (BA.N) announcement it would resume production of commercial jets next week also buoyed sentiment and gave traders a reason to shrug off a 6.8% decline in Chinese gross domestic product in the first quarter, the first contraction since 1992, when modern record-keeping began.

The dollar slid against the euro and Japanese yen, and gold fell as much as 2% as investors globally drew comfort from Trump’s plans to gradually re-open the U.S. economy in a three-stage approach.

China along with Germany, Italy, Spain and other parts of Europe also have plans to reopen their economies even as the death toll from the pandemic rises.

“It’s too early to signal the all-clear, but I do think we’re making progress,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

Economies will not fully recover until people are comfortable they can move about in public without being exposed to the coronavirus and getting sick, he said. Also, laid-off workers must be rehired but the good news is at least half indicate their situation is temporary, he said.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 2.59%, while the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 2.63%, climbing more than 8% the last two weeks.

On Wall Street, stocks pared early gains above 2% but remained firmly in positive territory. Boeing rose 14.7% while the Nasdaq, up 6.1% for the week, logged its best two-week gain since April 2001.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 704.81 points, or 2.99%, to 24,242.49. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 75.01 points, or 2.68%, to 2,874.56 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 117.78 points, or 1.38%, to 8,650.14