S&P 500, Dow edge higher as Gilead data offsets virus concerns
By Medha Singh and C Nivedita (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow advanced on Friday as a positive update from Gilead's antiviral drug to treat COVID-19 countered nerves over a record rise in coronavirus cases in the United States that threatens to damage Corporate America. Gilead's remdesivir significantly improved clinical recovery and reduced the risk of death in COVID-19 patients, additional data from a late-stage study showed. The drugmaker's shares rose 2.1% as it said the finding required confirmation in clinical trials.
By Medha Singh and C Nivedita
(Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow advanced on Friday as a positive update from Gilead's antiviral drug to treat COVID-19 countered nerves over a record rise in coronavirus cases in the United States that threatens to damage Corporate America.
Gilead's remdesivir significantly improved clinical recovery and reduced the risk of death in COVID-19 patients, additional data from a late-stage study showed. The drugmaker's shares rose 2.1% as it said the finding required confirmation in clinical trials.
The United States registered the largest single-day increase in new COVID-19 infections globally for the second day in a row on Thursday, forcing Americans to take new precautions. Several states have already backpedaled on reopening plans.
"This market is psychologically focused on coronavirus news, and it's a battle of positive news stories versus negative news stories," said Mike Zigmont, head of trading and research at Harvest Volatility Management in New York.
A slate of economic data, including a record monthly payrolls addition, has pointed to a revival in business activity in June, fueling the U.S. stock market's stimulus-driven rally.
The S&P 500 has risen more than 40% from its March lows and stands about 8% below its record high hit in February.
Technology stocks weakened, dragging the Nasdaq from its third record closing high this week.
Bank of America Corp
Overall profits for S&P 500 firms are expected to plunge the most since the financial crisis, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
"With the earnings expectations so low, investors are of the mindset that they will more likely be exceeded rather than fall even further," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.
At 12:48 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> was up 191.83 points, or 0.75%, at 25,897.92, the S&P 500 <.SPX> was up 12.25 points, or 0.39%, at 3,164.30. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> was down 2.73 points, or 0.03%, at 10,545.02.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.17-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.40-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 15 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 67 new highs and 16 new lows.
(Reporting by Medha Singh and C Nivedita in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Maju Samuel)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.