U.S. stocks surged on Friday, thanks to investor optimism over a possible cure to the deadly coronavirus and President Donald Trump’s plans to gradually reopen U.S. economy. In addition, news of Boeing’s plans to restart production of jet planes in Washington state after halting operations in March because of the pandemic boosted investors’ hopes. Friday’s rally marks stocks’ second-straight weekly gain.
The three major indices— the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite — closed in the green on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 24,242.49 after gaining3%, the broader S&P 500 reached 2,874.56 after rising2.7% and the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite hit 8,650.14 after increasing 1.4%.
The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) rose 9.3% to close at 41.69 on Apr 17. Finally, advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 4.96-to-1 ratio.
Gilead Sciences’ Experimental Drug Resulted in “Rapid Recoveries”
A major booster for financial markets on Apr 17 was the news of Gilead Sciences, Inc.’s (GILD - Free Report) experimental drug Remdesivir leading to “rapid recoveries” in 125 patients suffering from the novel coronavirus, as reported by Medicine researchers at the University of Chicago.
The research-based biopharmaceutical company’s shares surged 9.7% on Friday as a result, after the National Institutes of Health published a media advisory on Apr 17 afternoon, announcing the results of a study that showed the drug was effective in treating monkeys infected with COVID-19.
Gilead Sciences carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Boeing to Restart Production of Jets
The Boeing Company (BA - Free Report) plans to restart production of its commercial airplanes in Washington state, the company said on Apr 16. This would bring the company’s approximately 27,000 employees back to work.
Boeing’s announcement is the first of a major American manufacturer trying to normalize its operations. Shares of the company surged 14.7% at the end of Friday’s trading session.
The company has new health and safety precautions in place for employees who return to work this week. Some of these measures would include staggered start times and spread-out areas of work. In addition, face coverings and other personal protective equipment will be adequately provided to the employees as well.
The employees are expected to work on Boeing’s 747, 767, 777 and 787 planes. The planemaker will also start planning to resume production of the 737 Max, which pends regulatory approval after being grounded for about a year after two fatal accidents.
The three major indexes fared well in the week ended Apr 17. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite gained 2.2%, 3% and 6.1% respectively last week.
These gains were mostly the result of optimism of investors around the gradual reopening of the U.S. economy. The Trump administration’s plans to open the country’s economy in phases were well-accepted by investors.
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