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Wall Street Surges on Hopeful Coronavirus Signs, Healthcare, Energy Sector Strength

James Hyerczyk

U.S. stock markets surged on Wednesday on hopeful signs the coronavirus outbreak in the United States was close to a peak. The markets also received an additional boost after Bernie Sanders’ announced he was suspending his presidential campaign, and Bloomberg reported OPEC and its allies are edging closer to a production cut deal.

In the cash market on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 2749.98, up 90.57 or +3.45%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 23433.57, up 778.71 or +3.49% and the technology-driven NASDAQ Composite closed at 8090.90, up 203.64 or +2.62%.

Coronavirus Concerns Ease

Stocks were supported early Wednesday after President Donald Trump said Americans might be getting to the top of the “curve” in relation to the outbreak. Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state’s efforts at social distancing were working in getting the virus under control in one of the biggest hotspots in the country.

Later on Wednesday, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Fox News that the U.S. death count related to the coronavirus is now lower than initially thought, noting there should be a turnaround after this week.

Healthcare Stocks Jump after Bernie Sanders Drops Out

Healthcare stocks jumped after Senator Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race, relieving some of Wall Street’s political concerns amid the economic crisis stemming from the coronavirus.

Some of Sanders’ policy proposals, including Medicare for All, raised concern among several business owners and investors who feared taxes would go up under his presidency. His healthcare policy would have essentially abolished private insurance and had cast a shadow over healthcare stocks for months.

Fed Minutes

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday released the minutes from last month’s two emergency meetings. These showed officials grew increasingly concerned by the swiftness with which the pandemic was harming the U.S. economy and disrupting financial markets, prompting them to take “forceful action.”

The minutes revealed that the Fed is prepared to keep rates near zero until the economy has “weathered” the coronavirus impact.

Energy Sector Boosted

The U.S. energy sector rose sharply on Wednesday after U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures jumped more than 8% in a surprise move just ahead of the end of the regular trading session

Traders said the catalyst behind the surge in prices was a report from Bloomberg that the oil minister of Algeria said OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, was discussing a massive cut that could reach 10 million barrels per day.

The Internals

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 6.89-to-1 ratio; on NASDAQ, a 4.87-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 3 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the NASDAQ Composite recorded 6 new highs and 21 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 11.56 billion shares, compared to the 15.25 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

This article was originally posted on FX Empire