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Stocks rally amid signs coronavirus is plateauing

U.S. equity markets rallied to session highs Wednesday after Sen. Bernie Sanders announced he was suspending his presidential campaign.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 593 points, or 2.62 percent, ahead of the noon hour while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose 2.4 percent and 2.04 percent, respectively. The gains have lifted the S&P 500 out of its bear market, which would officially end with the index closing above 2,684.88.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SP500 S&P 500 2725.65 +66.24 +2.49%
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 23225.92 +572.06 +2.53%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 8051.342604 +164.08 +2.08%

Sanders, I-Vt., suspending his campaign leaves former Vice President Joe Biden as the likely nominee to take on President Trump in the November election. The major averages had posted smaller gains earlier Wednesday amid optimism that hospitalizations related to the COVID-19 pandemic are beginning to plateau in some of the hardest-hit areas of the country.

Carnival Cruise Line rallied for a third day after Saudi Arabia’s investment fund announced on Monday it had taken an 8 percent stake in the heavily beaten-down cruise operator.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
CCL CARNIVAL CORP. 11.99 +0.69 +6.11%
NCL n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
RCLH n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

Electric-car maker Tesla furloughed all non-essential employees and cut pay through the end of the second quarter, according to a Reuters report that cited a company email.

Retailers Party City and Dick’s Sporting Goods announced they would be furloughing workers.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSLA TESLA INC. 548.96 +3.51 +0.64%
DKS DICKS SPORTING 25.78 +1.93 +8.09%
PRTY PARTY CITY HOLDCO INC 0.47 -0.04 -7.97%

On the earnings front, blue jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co. reported better-than-expected top- and bottom-line results and withdrew its 2020 guidance due to uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

Social-media company Pinterest soared after reporting preliminary results and withdrawing its 2020 guidance. Pinterest will release its final results on May 5.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
LEVI LEVI STRAUSS & CO. 13.35 +1.34 +11.16%
PINS PINTEREST INC. 16.84 +1.78 +11.82%

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 3.6 percent to $24.48 a barrel ahead of Thursday’s key meeting between OPEC and its allies, and gold inched up 0.23 percent to $1,688 an ounce.

U.S. Treasurys slipped, running the yield on the 10-year note higher by 1.6 basis points to 0.75 percent.

In Europe, France’s CAC rose 0.1 percent, Britain’s FTSE slid 0.85 percent and Germany’s DAX shed 0.3 percent.

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Asian markets were mixed, as Japan’s Nikkei gained 2.13 percent in response to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s $1 trillion stimulus package. China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.19 percent and 1.17 percent, respectively.

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