Wall Street gains as oil surge eclipses massive jobless numbers

(Reuters) – Wall Street bounced on Thursday as hopes of a truce between Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut oil output drove a record 22% surge in prices, outweighing the shock of over 6 million Americans filing for jobless claims due to virus-led lockdowns.

The S&P energy index .SPNY, down by half this year, climbed 10%, with big gains for majors Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) powering a near 2% rise for both the S&P 500 .SPX and the Dow Jones .DJI.

Saudi Arabia has called for an emergency meeting of oil producers, while U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected the kingdom and Russia to cut output by as much as 10 million to 15 million barrels a day. [O/R]

“The surge in crude is helping the mood, so we’re seeing some relief in markets that have been hammered,” said Richard Steinberg, chief market strategist at Colony Group, in Florida.

The list of top gainers on the benchmark S&P 500 was dominated by oil companies. Apache Corp (APA.N), Diamondback Energy Inc (FANG.O) and Helmerich Payne (HP.N) advanced between 14% and 16%.

Brent LCOc1 was on track for its biggest one-day gain on record, but prices are still far from recovering last month’s steep losses.

A bump in prices may still not be enough to save some of the debt-laden U.S. shale companies that are on the brink of bankruptcy as demand continues to plunge, wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysts foresee a further decline in U.S. stocks as country-wide shutdowns to limit the spread of the virus result in a virtual halt in business activity and force companies to lay off employees and save cash.

Boeing Co (BA.N), once a symbol of America’s industrial might, has offered buyout and early retirement packages to employees.

Meanwhile, initial claims for unemployment benefits last week rose to 6.65 million, exceeding the top end of economists’ estimates at 5.25 million.

“They are really eye popping numbers, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really tell the whole story because we knew they were going to be bad,” said Shawn Snyder, head of investment strategy at Citi Personal Wealth Management in New York.

“The real question is what happens by the end of the year.”

At 12:52 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 377.55 points, or 1.80%, at 21,321.06, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 49.73 points, or 2.01%, at 2,520.23 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 112.09 points, or 1.52%, at 7,472.67.

Walgreens (WBA.O) fell 7% after the drugstore retailer reported a steep decline in U.S same-store sales in the last week of March. [L4N2BQ32Z]

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.96-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.90-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week high and eight new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded three new highs and 70 new lows.

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Wall Street gains as U.S. extends shutdown to limit virus spread

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Monday as President Donald Trump followed last week’s massive fiscal stimulus package by extending his stay-at-home guidelines, leaving investors to await more signs on the next stages of a deepening economic crisis.

A record $2.2 trillion in aid and policy easing from the Federal Reserve helped equities recover some of their losses last week, with the S&P 500 .SPX posting its biggest weekly percentage gain in over a decade and the Dow Jones .DJI its best since 1938.

That is convincing few that the worst of the most dramatic sell-off in a decade is over, and Wall Street’s fear gauge , which predicts future volatility, is still running as high as it has been since the 2008 financial crisis.

However, the prospect of more government stimulus has given investors something to hold on to as they wait for signs of economic relief from the pandemic.

“We got some certainty last week with the U.S. passing legislation to help with liquidity but the general sentiment is still fairly uncertain as the numbers for the coronavirus cases continue to climb,” said Noah Hamman, chief executive office of AdvisorShares.

Even taking last week’s bounce into account, the severity of the spread of the virus and the likelihood of a deep global recession have so-far knocked $7 trillion off the value of S&P 500 companies.

The volatility has been extraordinary and sustained, with the Dow gaining nearly 2,000 points in one session, only to fall almost 3,000 points the next day.

“The big picture from the get go is that markets will calm down once they know that the depth and duration of this pandemic,” said Clark Kendall, chief executive officer of Kendall Capital in Rockville, Maryland

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) said on Saturday it expected real U.S. gross domestic product to fall 10% in the first quarter and plunge 25% in the second quarter.

All of the major S&P sectors were higher with technology .SPLRCT and healthcare .SPXHC, which outperformed other sectors in the rout, providing the biggest support to the benchmark index.

Boosting the healthcare index was an 8.4% jump in Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) as the company got a boost from the U.S. government’s plans to help fund the creation of enough manufacturing capacity for its coronavirus vaccine, currently under development.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) climbed about the same after winning U.S. approval for a diagnostic test for COVID-19.

At 13:24 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 482.20 points, or 2.23%, at 22,118.98, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 66.06 points, or 2.60%, at 2,607.53 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 220.56 points, or 2.94%, at 7,722.94.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH.N), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL.N) and Carnival Corp (CCL.N) were among the top decliners after Berenberg slashed its price targets on cruise operators by about a third.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.32-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.49-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded five new highs and 20 new lows.

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Futures choppy as U.S. shutdown extension weighs

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures see-sawed on Monday after a strong recovery last week, as President Donald Trump extended his stay-at-home guidelines until the end of April, raising fears of a larger economic hit from the slump in business activity.

Trump on Sunday dropped a hotly criticized plan to get the economy up and running by mid April after a top medical adviser said more than 100,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus outbreak if mitigation measures were not successful.

Oil prices fell to an 18-year low as demand dropped on fears of the economic damage from the outbreak.

At 05:48 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 24 points, or 0.11%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 1.5 points, or 0.06% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 24.25 points, or 0.32%.

SPDR S&P 500 ETFs (SPY.P) were down 0.28%.

The S&P 500 index .SPX closed down 3.37% at 2,541.47​ on Friday.

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Futures rise as Washington reaches deal on $2 trillion aid package

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday, putting Wall Street on course to extend its massive bounce from the previous session, as Washington reached a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus package to help ease some economic pain from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Senate will vote on the bill later on Wednesday and the House of Representatives is expected to follow soon after.

At 05:24 a.m. EDT, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 741 points, or 3.6%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 54 points, or 2.21% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 187 points, or 2.48%.

SPDR S&P 500 ETFs (SPY.P) were up 2.61%.

The S&P 500 index .SPX closed up 9.38% at 2,447.33​ on Tuesday.

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