U.S. stocks jumped to seven-week highs on Wednesday as Gilead Sciences gave an encouraging update on a potential COVID-19 drug treatment and upbeat earnings from Google-parent Alphabet boosted the market-leading FAANG stocks. Shares of Apple popped $8.90 (+3.20%) to hit $287.48 in afternoon trading.
Gilead rose 7% after the drugmaker said its experimental antiviral treatment remdesivir helped improve symptoms for COVID-19 patients who were given the drug early.
The three main indexes have recovered over 30% from their mid-March lows, boosted by aggressive stimulus efforts and, more recently, on hopes of an economic revival as many U.S. states begin to relax lockdown measures.
Alphabet’s results helped growth stocks such as Facebook Inc, Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc, and Netflix Inc, gain between 1% and 6.5%.
All eyes will be on the policy statement by the Federal Reserve at the end of its two-day meeting at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT).
“They are going to be broadly supportive of the markets, the economy and signal a continuing commitment to further ramp up interventions if necessary, to support the recovery,” said Tony Roth, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust in Wilmington, Delaware.
MacDailyNews Note: “Gilead Sciences said Wednesday preliminary results of a coronavirus drug trial showed at least 50% of patients treated with a five-day dosage of remdesivir improved and more than half were discharged from the hospital within two weeks,” Berkeley Lovelace Jr. reports for CNBC. “U.S. health officials say producing a vaccine to prevent the disease will take at least 12 to 18 months, making finding an effective drug treatment soon even more crucial. A number of studies are testing remdesivir to see if it’s effective in stopping the coronavirus from replicating.”
“Remdesivir has shown some promise in treating SARS and MERS, which are also caused by coronaviruses,” Lovelace Jr. reports. “Some health authorities in the U.S., China and other parts of the world have been using remdesivir, which was tested as a possible treatment for the Ebola outbreak, in hopes that the drug can reduce the duration of Covid-19 in patients.”