Stocks surge higher on report that Gilead drug is helping COVID-19 patients

U.S. stocks jumped on Friday following President Donald Trump’s new guidelines to reopen the economy and on a report of a drug to potentially treat COVID-19, while Boeing headed higher on plans to resume production.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 279.47 points, or 1.19 per cent, at the open to 23,817.15.
The S&P 500 opened higher by 42.88 points, or 1.53 per cent, at 2,842.43, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 135.12 points, or 1.58 per cent, to 8,667.48 at the opening bell.

Canada’s main stock index also rose. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 235.86 points, or 1.7 per cent, at 14,135.18.

The week is ending on an upbeat note after the White House set guidelines to reopen the economy regardless of whether widespread testing will be available. The president is under pressure, with 22 million Americans applying for jobless benefits in a month, erasing a decade worth of job creation. At the same time, infection surged in Russia, Germany and Singapore, while China conceded it had 40 per cent more deaths than previously reported.

“The market is a bit optimistic right now,” David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, said on Bloomberg TV. “Ultimately we have to have really great coordination in order to see any real improvement in the economy.”

Traders largely shrugged off data showing China’s gross domestic product shrank 6.8 per cent in the first quarter from a year ago, the worst performance since at least 1992 and below the consensus forecast of a 6 per cent drop. The yuan rose offshore along with Chinese shares.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar climbed. Shares rallied in India as the central bank pledged to boost liquidity and expand bank credit.

With files from Reuters

Bloomberg.com

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