S&P 500 climbs back to within 7.8% of its high as Wall Street’s rally rolls on

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - BUSINESS -

Stocks bub­bled even higher on Wed­nes­day, vault­ing Wall Street back to where it was just one week af­ter it set its all-time high ear­lier this year, as op­ti­mism builds that the econ­omy can climb out of its cur­rent hole rel­a­tively quickly.

The S&P 500 rose 1.4% for its fourth straight gain as lock­downs loosen around the world and raise hopes for a coming eco­nomic re­cov­ery. Trea­sury yields also strength­ened in a sign of im­proved con­fi­dence af­ter re­ports sug­gested that while the U.S. econ­omy is still get­ting pum­meled, it may not be as bad as economists had feared.

“It’s fairly clear to us that the econ­omy clearly bot­tomed in late April and early May,” said James Ra­gan, di­rec­tor of wealth man­age­ment re­search at D.A. David­son. “At some point the con­cern will be on the pace of the re­cov­ery and not just the re­cov­ery it­self.”

The S&P 500 rose 42.05 points to 3,122.87, the lat­est up­ward move in its nearly 40% surge since late March. The in­dex is back above where it was on Feb. 26, one week af­ter set­ting its record.

The Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age gained 527.24 points, or 2%, to 26,269.89, and the Nasdaq com­pos­ite rose 74.54, or 0.8%, to 9.682.91.

Fi­nan­cial stocks in the S&P 500 jumped 3.8% for one of the largest gains among the 11 sec­tors that make up the in­dex. JPMor­gan Chase rose 5.4%, and Wells Fargo added 5.2%. They re­cov­ered more of the losses sus­tained ear­lier this year on wor­ries that the re­ces­sion would mean waves of loan de­faults for them.

Smaller stocks were also among the mar­ket’s big­gest win­ners, as they of­ten are when ex­pec­ta­tions are ris­ing for the econ­omy’s strength. The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of small-cap stocks rose 2.4%.

Stocks that had been stal­warts ear­lier when in­vestors were build­ing port­fo­lios that could win in a stay-at-home econ­omy, mean­while, were lag­ging. Net­flix fell 1.2%.

The four straight gains for the over­all S&P 500 mark its long­est win­ning streak since early Fe­bru­ary, be­fore the mar­ket sold off by nearly 34% on wor­ries that the coro­n­avirus out­break will send the econ­omy into its sharpest re­ces­sion in decades.

Stocks have been climb­ing since late March, at first on relief af­ter the Fed­eral Re­serve and Congress promised mas­sive amounts of aid for the econ­omy. More re­cently, the driv­ing force has been op­ti­mism that growth can re­sume as states across the coun­try and na­tions around the world lift re­stric­tions on busi­nesses in­tended to slow the spread of the out­break.

The S&P 500 has climbed back within 7.8% of its record.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A cur­rency trader watched mon­i­tors Wed­nes­day in the for­eign ex­change deal­ing room at KEB Hana Bank’s head­quar­ters in Seoul, South Korea. Stocks have been climb­ing as na­tions ease re­stric­tions de­signed to con­tain the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

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