Dow futures bounce more than 300 points as volatile week continues, Lowe’s shares jump

Stocks rose sharply on Wednesday, lifted in part by solid retail earnings, as traders continue to grapple with the market’s wild moves from this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 400 points higher, or 1.7%. The S&P 500 gained 1.8% while the Nasdaq Composite advanced about 2%.

Here are the stories that are moving the market:

  • Investors continue to watch how the reopening of states is going and so far there doesn’t appear to be a major spike in the virus.
  • On Wednesday, Connecticut began allowing consumers to dine in at restaurants with outdoor seating and some shops.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also said the state’s outbreak is back to where it started.
  • Strong results amid a lockdown from Lowe’s helped market sentiment. The home improvement retailer reported a same-store sales increase for the first quarter of 11.2%. The shares gained 0.4%.
  • In another sign of economic activity amid the pandemic, Target said a surge in digital sales fueled a 10.8% increase in same-store sales last quarter. The shares, which are up 13% in the last one month, fell slightly.
  • Oil continued to trade higher on Wednesday as traders bet on more driving activity.

Shares of MGM Resorts, United Airlines and Live Nation Entertainment all rose more than 4%. Those companies have all taken a beating this year amid the global economic shutdown. 

Wall Street seemed to shrug off more tough rhetoric from President Donald Trump on China. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted: “Some wacko in China just released a statement blaming everybody other than China for the Virus which has now killed hundreds of thousands of people. Please explain to this dope that it was the ‘incompetence of China’, and nothing else, that did this mass Worldwide killing!”

On Tuesday, the Dow dropped nearly 400 points after a report raised concerns about previously publicized trial results for Moderna’s potential coronavirus vaccine.

Those moves came after the Dow and S&P 500 logged in their best one-day performances since early April. The Dow gained more than 900 points that day on hopes of a possible Covid-19 drug and economic recovery from reopenings.

“The overall stock market gave back only a small part of its monster gain from [Monday] which really was encouraging being bolstered most of the day by the prospect of a period ahead of ‘better news,'” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group. “With re-openings now the vogue about the country, it seems almost assured that fundamental economic and earnings reports are headed for a period of improvement.”

“Coupled with a virus headed into its weak summer season and vaccine trials in full go, perhaps the stock market could be supported by something other than liquidity injections and fiscal juice,” added Paulsen.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday the Treasury and the Federal Reserve are “fully prepared to take losses” on the remaining capital from the coronavirus bailouts. Mnuchin said before the Senate Banking Committee he is prepared to distribute the entire $500 billion appropriated to help struggling businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell also reiterated the central bank’s commitment to programs aimed at keeping markets functioning and getting money to those who need it during the coronavirus crisis.

The Dow is down slightly more than 15% and the S&P 500 is about 9.5% in 2020. The Nasdaq is still hanging on to its positive 2.4% gain for the year. 

Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows more than 4.9 million cases have been confirmed worldwide, with over 1.5 million of those infections in the U.S. alone.

The Federal Reserve is set to release its meeting minutes at 2 pm ET.

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