Dow ends at highest level in 7 weeks as Gilead’s coronavius treatment and Fed’s pledges help to bolster stocks
U.S. stocks finished at their highest level in weeks on Wednesday as investors assessed progress on treatment for the novel strain of coronavirus and the Federal Reserve pledged to use its policy tools to help limit the economic damage from business shutdowns intended to slow down the spread of the contagion. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose around 530 points, or 2.2%, at around 24,633, marking its highest level since March 10, the S&P 500 index advanced 2.7%, at about 2,940, representing its highest close since March 6, while the Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 3.6% at 8,915. All levels are on a preliminary basis. A benchmark of small-capitalization stocks, the Russell 2000 index surged more than 5%, highlighting an area of the market that has made a powerful surge higher after being badly left behind during the coronavirus-induced rout in March, which hurt small businesses the most. Helping set the stage for gains on the day was a host of data from Gilead Sciences , which showed that its anti-malarial drug remdesivir was successful in treating certain patients with COVID-19. Meanwhile, the New York Times on Wednesday reported that the Food and Drug Administration is preparing to grant an emergency-use authorization as early as Wednesday. That news came after a series of data points from clinical trials were shared publicly, including promising results of a Gilead-sponsored trial, a positive preliminary data analysis from a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases study, and data from a Chinese clinical trial published in The Lancet. Meanwhile, the Fed kept interest rates at a range of 0% and 0.25% but said that it intends on doing whatever is necessary to help support an economy and market beleaguered by the viral outbreak.