Wall Street gained on Monday, setting the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq on track for record closing highs as optimism over potential medical advances in the war against the coronavirus pandemic helped keep investors in a buying mood.
The benchmark S&P 500 reclaimed its February closing high last week, confirming a bull market and the fastest recovery from a bear market trough on record.
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The blue-chip Dow, while leading Monday’s gains, remains nearly 5% off its all time high, and down just over 1% year-to-date. The Nasdaq and the S&P have gained over 26% and nearly 6%, respectively, since the final closing bell of 2019.
“There was no news over the weekend following last week’s (bull market) confirmation to cause a shift in thinking,” said Oliver Pursche, president of Bronson Meadows Capital Management in Fairfield, Connecticut.
“As economies reopen, businesses are still keeping employees at home, which gives the ‘stay-at-home’ trade more legs,” Pursche added.
Markets worldwide were given a boost by new developments in the global race to battle the coronavirus, including an announcement from the Food and Drug Administration that it had given emergency authorization for the use of plasma from recovered patients as a treatment option.
However, the World Health Organization expressed skepticism about the treatment due to “low quality” data.
The Trump administration is considering fast-tracking an experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University in hopes it could be deployed in the United States before Americans head to the polls in November.
“Trump’s team has been very vocal about getting a vaccine before the election,” Pursche said.
The four-day Republican national convention began Monday, with the party nominating President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for a second term and making the case for their re-election.