U.S. stocks rebound with health care adding boost

  • U.S. equity futures fluctuated and stocks slipped on Monday as investors weighed a weekend full of negative coronavirus news against the stimulus measures that triggered a bounce in risk assets last week. The dollar rebounded, Treasuries edged higher and oil sank.

    U.S. equity futures fluctuated and stocks slipped on Monday as investors weighed a weekend full of negative coronavirus news against the stimulus measures that triggered a bounce in risk assets last week. The dollar rebounded, Treasuries edged higher and oil sank. Associated Press file photo

 
 
Updated 3/30/2020 3:06 PM

U.S. stocks rallied as investors saw glimmers of optimism in efforts to deliver rapid testing for the new coronavirus. The dollar rose.

The S&P 500 Index climbed for the fourth time in five days, rising 17% over the last week, with health-care shares among the biggest gainers. The Nasdaq 100 advanced nearly 4%, leading the rebound among benchmarks from Friday's losses. Abbott Laboratories surged after unveiling a five-minute Covid-19 test and Johnson & Johnson announced a vaccine candidate for the virus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Crude fell more than 5% even after Trump spoke with Russia's Vladimir Putin about falling oil prices. The 10-year Treasury yield rose, while the dollar was on course to snap a four-session losing streak. Gold dipped.

Investors are grappling with the reality that the world's biggest economy will stay crippled for longer after Trump heeded advice from the government's top doctors that re-opening the U.S. in two weeks risks greater loss of life. The president said that social distancing guidelines would remain until at least April 30. But traders also continue to try to plumb the bottom and look for bright spots, such as in health-care companies that could produce products that help curb the outbreak.

"We're going to continue to see volatility," said Fabiana Fedeli, global head of fundamental equities at Robeco. "We're going to have a lot of news flow and some of it will be negative -- it could be concerns over the outbreak, it could be concerning the balance sheets of companies. And there will also be positive news as well."

In the latest stimulus moves, China's central bank lowered short-term funding rates and injected cash into its financial system, Australia announced a job-support program and limited public gatherings to just two people, while Singapore unveiled an unprecedented easing in policy.

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Elsewhere, Australian stocks surged by a record thanks to the new stimulus measures. Emerging-market currencies including South Africa's rand and Mexico's peso tumbled amid concern about debt downgrades.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The S&P 500 Index climbed 3.4% as of 3 p.m.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.3%.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 1.3%.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dipped 0.8%.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index jumped 0.7%.

The euro declined 0.8% to $1.1050.

The British pound decreased 0.3% to $1.2418.

The Japanese yen rose 0.1% at 107.78 per dollar.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose one basis point to 0.69%.

Germany's 10-year yield dipped two basis points to -0.5%.

Commodities

Gold fell 0.7% to $1,641 an ounce.

West Texas Intermediate crude decreased 5.4% to $20.36 a barrel.

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