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Markets Up Big Again as COVID-19 Claims 100K in U.S.

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Bulls took the reins in the final minutes of Wednesday trading, pushing up nearly 200 points within the last half hour of trading. The Dow closed up 2.2%, led by strong performances from the big banks like JPMorgan (JPM - Free Report) , Goldman Sachs (GS - Free Report) and American Express (AXP - Free Report) . We are currently shaping up for one of the strongest weeks in the market since the bottom fell out two months ago on “shelter in place” initiatives to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Today’s big ramp-up in the 3 major U.S. indexes — the Nasdaq was up 0.55% on the day, and the S&P 500 +1.48% — comes on a somber date in history regarding the coronavirus pandemic, as domestic fatalities have surpassed 100K. Now 1.72 million Americans have been confirmed as having contracted the disease. Worldwide, 5.64 million confirmed cases have resulted in 353K deaths.

What has been scheduled for today was an historic launch by SpaceX — the joint venture between Tesla’s (TSLA - Free Report) CEO Elon Musk and The Boeing Company (BA - Free Report) — has now been postponed due to bad weather. The Falcon 9 rocket, which currently sits on the platform at the Kennedy Space Center, will be the first U.S. space launch since the final flight of NASA’s Space Shuttle Atlantis nearly 9 years ago. The launch has now been rescheduled for 3:22pm ET Saturday.

This is also the first space mission conducted primarily through non-government entities. Though SpaceX — still a private company, with no immediate plans for an IPO — is working in tandem with NASA, it is effectively first-to-market with human space travel. Other companies in the “space,” like Virgin Galactic (SPCE - Free Report) and Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) -founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, are estimated to help create an $800 billion industry over the next decade. Saturday’s launch is expected to be a momentous occasion for this market “taking off.”

Pros & Cons in China

While China’s industrial growth adds to the positive sentiment regarding the global economy beyond the COVID-19 crisis, not all is coming up roses in the world’s second-largest economy. Increasing tensions over security laws in Hong Kong from Mainland China — which many in Hong Kong see as a “crackdown” on their legal and economic autonomy — have resulted in new skirmishes between police and protestors. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made it a point to say “Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China,” and commented that the U.S. stands on the side of the protesters.

This is in addition to legislation being formed here at home that would subject publicly traded companies to audits by the U.S. government. This would likely cause many Chinese companies currently trading in the U.S. markets to de-list from the indexes. These will be developments worth keeping an eye on as the week progresses.


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