S&P 500, Nasdaq notch new records on optimism coronavirus may plateau soon

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, US, February 6, 2020. — Reuters pic
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, US, February 6, 2020. — Reuters pic

FEBRUARY 11 — The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes hit record highs today as a top Chinese health adviser sparked expectations that the coronavirus outbreak may be peaking, while T-Mobile shares jumped after a federal judge approved its purchase of Sprint.

T-Mobile US climbed 11.2 per cent to the top of the benchmark S&P 500, while Sprint shares surged 73.8 per cent. Larger rival Verizon Communications Inc slipped 0.5 per cent, weighing on the communication services sector. AT&T Inc rose 1.1 per cent.

After more than 1,000 deaths and weeks of uncertainty that roiled global financial markets, China’s foremost medical adviser on the epidemic said infections may be over by April, with the number of new cases already declining in some places.

However, the hit to the world’s second-largest economy was still unclear as factories struggled to resume production after an extended holiday.

“For the time-being, investors are willing to say ‘we are going to invest in what we know’ and what we know right now is that the US economy is in pretty good shape, earnings have been better than expected and the Fed continues to have our back,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell was fairly upbeat about the outlook for the US economy in his prepared remarks to Congress on Tuesday, but cited a potential threat from the coronavirus outbreak.

The communication services sector was the only major S&P sector in the red. Cyclical sectors such as technology and financials provided the biggest boosts to the benchmark index.

At 9:58 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.29 per cent to 29,361.15 and the S&P 500 gained 0.43 per cent to 3,366.58. The Nasdaq Composite was up 44.29 points, or 0.46 per cent, at 9,672.68.

The fourth-quarter earnings season has been largely upbeat, with about 71 per cent of the 324 S&P 500 companies that have reported beating profit estimates.

Hasbro Inc rose 2 per cent on better-than-expected quarterly profit, but Under Armour Inc tumbled 16.2 per cent after it forecast a surprise drop in 2020 revenue.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.40-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.17-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 68 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 107 new highs and 29 new lows. — Reuters

Related Articles