(Reuters) – Wall Street rose on Monday as President Donald Trump followed last week’s massive fiscal stimulus package by extending his stay-at-home guidelines, leaving investors hopeful that the economic impact of the coronavirus could still be contained.
NYSE-AMEX Options floor traders from TradeMas Inc. work in an off-site trading office built when the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) closed, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, U.S., March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A record $2.2 trillion in aid and unprecedented policy easing from the Federal Reserve helped the S&P 500 .SPX post its biggest weekly percentage gain in over a decade last week, and the Dow Jones .DJI its best since 1938.
However, all three major stock indexes fell more than 3% on Friday after the United States overtook China as the country with the most number of coronavirus cases.
The crisis has so far knocked $7 trillion off the value of S&P 500 companies and without any clarity on how long it will take to quell the outbreak, Wall Street’s main indicators of future volatility remain at high levels.
“Massive monetary and fiscal spending is giving investors just enough breathing room to figure out the extent of the economic damage done,” said Stephen Innes, a markets strategist at AxiCorp.
“Prices are tentatively stabilizing and risk is turning back on again as market makers are back replenishing their shopping list of go-to equities.”
Trump on Sunday dropped a hotly criticized plan to get the economy up and running again by mid-April after White House health experts argued strongly to extend the stay-at-home order to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) said on Saturday it expected real U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) to fall 10% in the first quarter and plunge 25% in the second quarter.
The CBOE volatility index fell 3 points on Monday, but was still near levels far above those in 2018 and 2019.
“Until we’ve got some evidence that can help deal with the virus, it’s probably more choppy markets ahead,” said Noah Hamman, chief executive office of AdvisorShares in Bethesda, Maryland.
At 9:52 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 83.28 points, or 0.38%, at 21,720.06, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 25.18 points, or 0.99%, at 2,566.65 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 93.46 points, or 1.25%, at 7,595.84.
Of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors, only the energy index was in the red as U.S. crude oil prices fell below $20 for the first time in 18 years
The healthcare sector was the second-biggest boost to the benchmark index as progress on coronavirus vaccines and tests being developed by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) lifted their shares by about 4% and 10%, respectively.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH.N), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL.N) and Carnival Corp (CCL.N) were again the top decliners after Berenberg slashed its price targets on cruise operators by about a third.
Declining issues almost matched advancers on both the NYSE and the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded four new highs and eight new lows.
Reporting by Uday Sampath and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Sagarika Jasinghani and Anil D’Silva