The US equity market finished session higher on Monday, 18 May 2020, as investors risk sentiments encouraged by positive news on the first clinical tests of a coronavirus vaccine and hopes for more stimulus to rescue the economy from a deep slowdown. At closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 911.95 points, or 3.85%, to 24,597.37. The S&P 500 - a gauge of US retirement and education savings accounts - rose 90.21 points, or 3.2%, to 2,953.91. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index added 220.27 points, or 2.4%, to 9,234.83.
Investors risk sentiments underpinned by news on the first clinical tests of a coronavirus vaccine. Drug company Massachusetts-based Moderna announced encouraging results in very early testing of an experimental coronavirus vaccine.
Investors have kept a close eye on vaccine programs of several drugmakers, cheering any positive development amid fears of a second wave of infections as governments start easing restrictions. Investors are hoping that a working vaccine for COVID-19 can be developed and that it will help reassure people and businesses as the economy reopens.
Markets were also encouraged by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's remarks over the weekend on a gradual economic recovery and his affirmation that more monetary stimulus was on the way if required. He had also stressed on the importance of a vaccine in establishing economic normalcy.
Technology, financial and industrial stocks accounted for a big slice of Monday's broad gains, along with companies that rely on consumer spending. Energy stocks rose as the price of U. S. crude oil closed above $30 a barrel for the first time in two months.
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