Markets took early positive sentiment about an end in sight for the coronavirus pandemic on a global scale, leading to higher trading days and culminating with one of the best days in U.S. stock market history: +7.7% on the Dow, +7.3% for the Nasdaq and +7.0% at the S&P 500. “Flattening the curve” measures are beginning to bear fruit, as are announcements from myriad pharmaceutical companies vying to develop near-term therapeutics and longer-term vaccines for the coronavirus.
Microsoft MSFT founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has vowed to spend billions to develop a coronavirus vaccine, and President Trump himself has been sounding the horn for an already in-use drug called hydroxychloroquine, developed by Sanofi SNY under the brand name Planequil, among others, that he feels strongly could be a useful treatment for coronavirus. Behind closed doors, however, the president has met with some push-back regarding this assertion.
In Europe, we are at last seeing a rounding of the charts in regard to new confirmed cases of the disease, as well as fatalities resulting from it, in places hardest hit over the past two months. And while this is good news, we’re still seeing an increase in new cases in countries like Italy and Spain (up 200+ and 3800+, respectively in the past day). Belgium has seen its first major outbreak. Russia had over 1000 new cases in the last 24 hours.
All this is before mentioning United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care as he battles COVID-19 in a London hospital this morning. On Friday the 13th of last month, you may remember, Johnson made headlines for defying calls to shut down UK businesses and schools. Now there is talk regarding who is second in command for the country (reports state Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had been appointed by Johnson, though others insist state decisions will be made by “the cabinet.” Should Johnson succumb to the disease, Queen Elizabeth would then appoint his successor.
Yet with more congressional stimulus reportedly on the way, as well as an announcement yesterday that the Fed has agreed to purchase small business loans they would be receiving from their banks, it would appear big decisions are being made to backstop the U.S. economy in expedient and relatively responsible fashion. For the time being, anyway, this is enough to keep investment bulls roaring.
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