Stocks Finish Up on Virus Treatment Hopes - Nasdaq at Record

Stocks end higher as new data from Gilead Sciences tout the effectiveness of the drugmaker's developing coronavirus treatment.
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Stocks closed higher Friday after Gilead Sciences  (GILD) - Get Report touted the effectiveness of the drugmaker's developing coronavirus treatment as the number of new infections in the U.S. surged.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 369 points, or 1.44%, to 26,075, while the S&P 500 was up 1.05% to 3,185. The Nasdaq once again set a record intraday and closing high, finishing up 0.66% to 10,617.

Stocks held higher even after President Donald Trump said the U.S. relationship with China was "severely damaged" and that a phase-two trade agreement with Beijing wasn't under consideration.

Gilead said Friday that patients treated with remdesivir, an investigational antiviral for the treatment of covid-19, showed improved recoveries in a Phase III study, with a 62% reduction in mortality rates. The stock rose 2.2%.

On Thursday the tech-heavy Nasdaq was coming off an all-time high but the Dow and S&P 500 declined as another record for new coronavirus cases in the U.S. cast doubt on a speedy recovery for the economy.

“The market is concerned about the uptick in cases globally,” said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp. “Money is funneling into perceived safe areas of the market like tech, which should hold up broader indexes to a degree.”

Investors on Friday were moving to the relative safety of government bonds as Wall Street continued to track the Covid-19 resurgence and its impact of the global economic recovery. The yield on the 10-year Treasury traded at 0.6%, the lowest since April.

The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 12,318,610, according to Johns Hopkins University, and deaths increased to 555,977.

The U.S. has 3,158,183 cases of the coronavirus, the most in the world, according to Johns Hopkins. Deaths in the U.S. have risen to 133,420, also the most in the world.

The U.S. reported about 60,000 cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record for the sixth time in 10 days, according to a database compiled by The New York Times.

Crude prices rose Friday after the International Energy Agency raised its oil demand forecast but warned that a resurgence of the virus was “casting a shadow over the outlook.”

West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, gained 2.27% to $40.52 a barrel.