By Yasin Ebrahim
Investing.com – The Dow eased from highs Tuesday, but remained solidly in the green as investors continued to assess efforts by governments worldwide to contain the Covid-19 outbreak, with JPMorgan optimistically claiming the U.S. had passed its peak in new cases already.
The Dow rose 2.45%, 555 points, below its session highs of 937 points. TheS&P 500 gained 2.23% and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.52%.
For the second day in a row, investors are cheering signs that restrictive measures, including social distancing, have been effective in slowing the pace of coronavirus infections.
Underscoring a fall in the rate of hospitalizations, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state was still indicating that the spread of the virus was plateauing, even as the state reported its biggest increase in deaths of 731 overnight.
Cuomo said, however, that death was a lagging indicator in the fight against the virus. He also pointed to a significant drop in patients admitted to intensive care units.
JPMorgan added to recent optimism, saying the U.S. had passed its peak in new cases three or four days ago and that it expects a limited reopening of the economy in one to two weeks, CNBC reported.
Sentiment on stocks was also helped by reports that Congress is looking to beef up its $349 billion small business loan package by a further $200 billion.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hopes to approve further funding for the small business loan program this Thursday, CNBC reported.
The broader market rally was led by a surge in energy, with Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) cutting its capital spending plans by 30%, but pledging to maintain its dividend, sending its stock more than 5% higher.
A fall in oil prices, however, kept a lid on gains in energy as investors fear a coordinate production cut from global oil producers will do little to stop an expected glut in supply, with some on Wall Street estimating the coronavirus pandemic has cut demand by as many as 20 million barrels per day.
Financials, mostly banks, were also among the biggest gainers on the day as Treasury yields climbed higher.
JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) rallied 5%. while Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) were both 6% higher.
Tech was also in high demand, with FANG names seeing strong gains.