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Wall Street surges on hopes of lockdown easing; JPMorgan kicks off earnings

imageStock Markets1 hour ago (Apr 14, 2020 01:55PM ET)

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(C) Reuters. The “Fearless Girl” sculpture is seen outside The New York Stock Exchange building in New York City

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By Medha Singh and Akanksha Rana

(Reuters) – Wall Street jumped on Tuesday as hopes that President Donald Trump could move to ease coronavirus-induced lockdowns overshadowed dismal quarterly earnings reports from JPMorgan and Wells Fargo .

White House adviser Larry Kudlow said Trump would make a number of announcements about re-opening the U.S. economy in the next day or two as the health crisis appeared to be ebbing, but some state governors have said the decision to re-start businesses lies with them.

New York saw total hospitalizations fall for the first time since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

“There is belief that we’re past the worst part of the pandemic and every single day it’s just being bolstered further,” said Yousef Abbasi, global market strategist at INTL FCStone Financial Inc in New York.

“If we start to get clarity on what parts of the economy could start opening up, we’re probably going to trade more on the fundamentals and economic data.”

U.S. stock markets have recovered in the past month after slumping more than 30% from their February record highs, supported by a raft of monetary and fiscal stimulus and early signs of a plateauing in the number of coronavirus cases.

However, S&P 500 firms are still off about $4.7 trillion in market value and analysts have warned of a torrid earnings season as the containment measures ground business activity to a shuddering halt.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (N:JPM) and Wells Fargo & Co (N:WFC) reversed early gains to drop 3.3% and 4.5% respectively, as first-quarter profits plunged with both banks setting aside billions of dollars to cover potential loan-losses from the pandemic.

“Investors are looking past what’s undoubtedly going to be a very weak earnings season and are somewhat optimistic that things will get back to normal next quarter,” said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.

Johnson & Johnson (N:JNJ) rose 4.9% as it reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and boosted its dividend, signaling financial stability at a time when a slate of blue-chip firms have suspended dividends to shore up cash reserves.

At 1:09 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was up 480.51 points, or 2.05%, at 23,871.28 and the S&P 500 (SPX) was up 70.77 points, or 2.56%, at 2,832.40. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) was up 286.13 points, or 3.49%, at 8,478.56.

A 4.6% jump for Apple Inc (O:AAPL) put the tech-heavy Nasdaq on course for a fourth straight day of gains as data showed iPhone shipments to China rebounded slightly in March after crashing in February.

Tesla Inc (O:TSLA) surged 12.3% and was among the top boosts to the Nasdaq after brokerage Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN) upgraded the electric carmaker’s stock to “neutral”.

The S&P 1500 airlines index <.spcomair> gained 4.6% as sources said some large U.S. passenger airlines were close to accepting the terms of a $25 billion offer for government payroll aid.</.spcomair>

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 2.89-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.29-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded eight new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 22 new highs and eight new lows.

Wall Street surges on hopes of lockdown easing; JPMorgan kicks off earnings

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