Wall Street’s major indexes edged higher in choppy trading on Wednesday, supported by technology shares as traders’ hopes were bolstered by early signs of a U.S. economic rebound.
Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp provided the biggest boost to all three indexes. The technology index rose 1.1%, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors.
“People are debating whether or not the low in the economy has actually been reached so they’re sticking with growth stocks and that’s technology,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.
Safe-haven gold rose nearly 1% as the number of confirmed U.S. [COVID-19] cases surpassed 3 million, affecting nearly one of every 100 Americans. California, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma and Texas broke their previous daily record highs for new infections.
MacDailyNews Take: More testing = more cases.
“In general, experts see three broad reasons for the downward trend in the rate of coronavirus deaths: testing, treatment and a shift in whom the virus is infecting,” Katherine J. Wu reports for The New York Times. “Since mid-March, when the coronavirus was declared a national emergency, diagnostic testing for the coronavirus has risen significantly. More than 600,000 tests are administered each day in the United States, up from about 100,000 per day in early spring… The increased testing has identified many more infected individuals with mild or no symptoms, driving down the overall proportion of patients who die from COVID-19.”
Increased cases ≠ increased deaths.
“Coronavirus-related hospitalizations increase with age, and elderly individuals remain some of those hardest hit by the coronavirus; patients over 65 account for eight out of 10 deaths from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But younger people now make up a growing proportion of cases, and they are less likely to die from the disease. In Arizona, people ages 20 to 44 now account for nearly half of all cases. In Florida, which just recorded more than 10,000 new cases in a single day, the median age of residents testing positive has dropped to 35 from 65. And in Texas, more than half of those testing positive are under the age of 50,” Wu reports.
Better treatments + improved behaviors = decreased deaths.
“Health care workers have also become more knowledgeable about promising treatments and palliative care options to combat the coronavirus and its effects,” Wu reports. “Moreover, nursing homes and other facilities that harbor vulnerable populations may be working harder to protect their residents… Experts can’t be sure, but behaviors like mask wearing, physical distancing and hygiene may also be reducing the dose of coronavirus that people encounter in the population at large”
Markets also appeared to be in a wait-and-watch mode before the beginning of the second-quarter earnings season, which kicks off next week with reports from the big Wall Street banks… “Wall Street is looking ahead to 2021 earnings and pretty much ignoring 2020,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York.
MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, the signs point to a strong U.S. economic rebound!
Again, until we get a COVID-19 vaccine, which will hopefully come more quickly than previously thought possible as Operation Warp Speed looks to accelerate development by funding steps to proceed simultaneously versus the usual sequential process, try to be as safe as you can be – wash your hands frequently, keep your hands away from your face, wear a mask in public, practice social distancing, etc.
The CDC guidelines for how to protect yourself and others — especially older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes and are at higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 — are here.