Wall Street jumps as healthcare shares rise, lockdowns ease

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes rallied on Tuesday as healthcare stocks jumped, oil prices surged and a number of countries and U.S. states eased coronavirus-induced restrictions in an attempt to revive their economies.

Some hard-hit countries, including Italy, as well some U.S. states including California are tentatively easing lockdown orders this week, raising hopes for a recovery in oil demand.

All 11 S&P 500 sectors were positive, led by a 2.7% gain for healthcare following some positive coronavirus-related news.

Pfizer (PFE.N) shares rose 3.0% after the drugmaker said it and its German partner had begun delivering doses of an experimental coronavirus vaccines for human testing. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN.O) shares gained 5.9% after the company said its experimental antibody cocktail for COVID-19 may be available for use by the end of summer.

“What we have got is the easing of lockdowns in a number of states and that has certainly provided a positive boost for stocks, especially California given that it is such a large component of the overall U.S. economy,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco. “We have had some positive developments when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 358.02 points, or 1.51%, to 24,107.78, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 51 points, or 1.79%, to 2,893.74 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 178.67 points, or 2.05%, to 8,889.39.

Shares of large tech and internet companies such as Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Apple (AAPL.O) were also higher, giving lifts to the indexes.

The energy sector .SPNY rose 2.0% as oil prices surged.

Stocks have rebounded sharply since late March from the coronavirus-fueled sell-off, helped by massive monetary and fiscal stimulus. Investors are now watching efforts by a number of states trying to spark their economies by easing restrictions put in place to fight the outbreak.

Data on Tuesday showed the vast U.S. services sector fell into contraction in April for the first time in nearly 10-1/2-years.

Investors are now bracing for data on the labor market through the week culminating with the employment report for the month of April due Friday.

“We have certainly gotten some negative data, but for the most part the market has learned to look through that,” Hooper said.

In corporate news, shares of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH.N) tumbled 21.5% as the world’s third-largest cruise operator raised doubts about its ability to keep running as a business.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.77-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.01-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 9 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 43 new highs and 4 new lows.

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