Stocks gained back most of the declines seen on Wall Street into the close yesterday as investor buying seemed to show a hopeful attitude about the economic restart plans that are taking hold in more and more states. The minutes from the last meeting of the Federal Reserve's FOMC had a few points of interest, but none that suggested any changes to the policy stance any time in the foreseeable future.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: The latest data from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering shows there are now 4.9M confirmed cases of COVID-19, including over 1.5M in the U.S., and 323,723 deaths due to the disease. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo reported 112 virus deaths in the state yesterday versus 105 deaths the previous day.
Meanwhile, the Fed sees economic activity in the second quarter declining at an "unprecedented rate," according to minutes from the latest Federal Reserve rate-setting meeting. In addition, the Fed could adopt "outcome-based forward guidance," the minutes showed.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Lowe's (LOW) were in focus after the home improvement retailer reported better than expected comparable store sales growth and gross margin performance. Part of its outperformance may be related to its Spring Black Friday sale being even more successful than usual after rival Home Depot (HD) took a pass on its own version of the annual event.
Target (TGT) shares were 3.3% lower after its own quarterly report, which featured same-store sales that increased 10.8% compared to the same period last year.
Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) rose 8.4% after the company announced the publication of preclinical study data for IN0-4800, its COVID-19 DNA vaccine, demonstrating what Inovio called "robust" neutralizing antibody and T cell immune responses. However, several on Wall Street expressed the view that the data shared were not really "new news."
Meanwhile, shares of Alibaba (BABA), Baidu (BIDU), and other Chinese companies were under pressure after the U.S. Senate passed legislation that could ban many Chinese companies from listing their shares on U.S. exchanges or raising money from American investors. "Specifically, an issuer must make this certification if the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is unable to audit specified reports because the issuer has retained a foreign public accounting firm not subject to inspection by the board. Furthermore, if the board is unable to inspect the issuer's public accounting firm for three consecutive years, the issuer's securities are banned from trade on a national exchange," a summary of the bill reads.
Additionally, theme park operators including Disney (DIS), Comcast's (CMCSA) Universal, and Seaworld (SEAS) will reportedly present reopening plans to a Florida task force on Thursday.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Arconic (ARNC), which rose over 14% after Credit Suisse analyst Curt Woodworth initiated coverage of the stock with an Outperform rating and $22 price target. Also higher was Kornit (KRNT), which gained 33.8% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Urban Outfitters (URBN), which slid 7.8% after it reported lower than expected preliminary Q1 results, including a 28% year-over-year slide in same-store sales. Also lower after reporting quarterly results was Opera Limited (OPRA), which fell 3.3%.
INDEXES: The Dow rose 369.04, or 1.52%, to 24,575.90, the Nasdaq gained 190.67, or 2.08%, to 9,375.78, and the S&P 500 advanced 48.67, or 1.67%, to 2,971.61.