Stocks fight for gains amid spikes in coronavirus cases

The best sectors for growth and activity now

Citi ICG Chairman Leon Kalvaria discusses the state of the markets amid the coronavirus pandemic and sectors to watch.

U.S. equity markets battled for gains Wednesday as investors analyzed a resurgence of coronavirus cases.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 56 points, or 0.21 percent, in the opening minutes of trading while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.32 percent and 0.48 percent, respectively.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES26169.75-120.23-0.46%
SP500S&P 5003128.86+4.12+0.13%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX9941.727217+45.86+0.46%

The early advance comes as the major averages recorded sharp gains on Tuesday after the May retail sales report posted the biggest monthly advance on record following historic declines in March and April.

A cluster of new infections in Beijing caused authorities on Wednesday to order the lockdown of residential communities in China’s capital city. Here at home, case counts in a number of states, including Arizona, Florida and Texas, have reached new highs.

Looking at stocks, cruise operators, airlines and other travel-related names remain in focus as the surge in cases puts the pace of reopening in question.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings extended the suspension of most voyages through September. The company had previously announced the cancelation of trips through July.

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it will keep middle seats open through at least September. Based on July bookings, the airline sees operating revenue falling 65 percent to 70 percent year-over-year.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %

Rival United Airlines increased health benefits to entice employees to sign up for a voluntary exit package, according to a document seen by Reuters. The company needs more volunteers in order to avoid layoffs when government stipulations on stimulus money expire in October.

Elsewhere, Tesla reached a three-year battery pricing deal with Panasonic. Still, the number of registrations of the electric vehicles in California was down 37 percent from a year ago in April and May, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing data from research firm Dominion Enterprises.

Big-box retailer Target hiked its starting wage to $15 an hour, beginning July 5, and will give all hourly employees a $200 cash bonus for their work during the pandemic.

Financial-services firm HSBC revived plans to slash 35,000 jobs, or about 15 percent of its workforce, according to a memo seen by Reuters. The company postponed the job cuts in March due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
TSLATESLA INC.992.71+10.58+1.08%
TGTTARGET CORP.118.09-1.12-0.94%

On the earnings front, enterprise information-management software provider Oracle reported mixed quarterly results amid a drop off in deals in industries affected by the pandemic.

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West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 66 cents to $37.72 a barrel while gold fell $12.90 to $1,723.60 an ounce.

U.S. Treasurys were little changed with the yield on the 10-year note near 0.76 percent.

In Europe, France’s CAC led the way higher, up 1.11 percent, while Germany’s DAX gained 0.7 percent and Britain’s FTSE added 0.57 percent.


Asian markets finished mixed as Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.56 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.56 percent and 0.14 percent, respectively.

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