Wall Street jumps on easing coronavirus impact

Adding to the optimism for stocks were data showing that the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped to a nine-month low last week, with investors casting an eye toward Friday’s monthly US employment report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 88.92 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 29,379.77, the S&P 500 gained 11.09 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 3,345.78 and the Nasdaq Composite added 63.47 points, or 0.67 per cent, to 9,572.15.

Among S&P 500 sectors, communication services and technology led the way, while energy fell the most.

Even with optimism about containing the broad economic damage from the coronavirus, the impact of the health emergency in China continued to show up in corporate reports.

Chipmaker Qualcomm flagged a potential threat to the mobile phone industry from the outbreak. Its shares fell 0.3 per cent.

Investors were also digesting the acquittal of US President Donald Trump on impeachment charges.

“The outcome was fairly well telegraphed and I think widely believed, but it ends the chapter for now and I think that is a modest positive for investor sentiment,” said James Ragan, director of wealth management research at DA Davidson in Seattle.

With the fourth-quarter corporate reporting season more than halfway completed, S&P 500 companies are expected to have increased earnings by 2.1 per cent for the period.

In earnings news, Becton Dickinson and Co shares slid 11.8 per cent, contributing the biggest drag on the S&P 500, after the medical technology company cut its 2020 forecast.

Kellogg shares slumped 8.5 per cent after the breakfast cereal maker forecast full-year earnings that widely missed market expectations.

Twitter shares soared 15 per cent after the social media company reported $US1 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time.

Philip Morris International shares rose 2.7 per cent after the tobacco company released results.

About 7.3 billion shares changed hands in US exchanges, below the 7.7 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.



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