April 29, 2020 / 3:40 PM / a month ago

LIVE MARKETS U.S.-Wall Street rises with virus treatment hopes

    * Wall St gains ground; S&P hits highest level since March 6
    * Defensive utilities, staples decline, comms services rise
    * Gold, dollar slip, WTI crude up; U.S. 10-Yr yield ~0.59%

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U.S. equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters
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    WALL STREET RISES WITH VIRUS TREATMENT HOPES (1030 EDT/1430
GMT)
    Even as data showed the U.S. economy declined more than
expected in the first quarter, Wall Street's main indexes were
rising on Wednesday as investors were optimistic about results
from trials of a potential COVID-19 treatment from Gilead
Sciences. 
    Investors have been heavily focused on trials for potential
COVID-19 treatments as they are betting that once patients can
be treated, officials will be have greater confidence easing
stay-at-home rules to help reboot the economy.
    Gilead said its experimental antiviral drug remdesivir
helped improve outcomes for patients with COVID-19, and provided
data suggesting it worked better when given earlier in the
course of infection.
    "If it actually works then that's good news. The market's
moving on the Gilead news," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief
investment officer, Independent Advisor Alliance, Charlotte, NC
in a telephone call.
    Zaccarelli wrote that the awful Q1 GDP decline of 4.8% was
even worse "when you consider that the first two months of the
first quarter were relatively normal and this number only
includes the March lockdowns." 
    But he noted, "GDP news is backward looking. Everybody knew
it was going to be bad."
    "What matters to the market is forward looking information
like when we're going to get a cure or a vaccine. Any news on
treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19 is going to outweigh
backward looking economic numbers," he said.
    The S&P 500's communication services sector
was the biggest gainer as Google rose ~8%. 
    After this Energy and financial sectors were
the S&P's biggest percentage gainers. 
    Mastercard shares rose more than 6% after it reported
quarterly results that were much better than feared. More
defensive sectors lost ground. 
    Here is a snapshot of early trading:
    
 
 
    (Sinéad Carew)
    *****   
    
    STOCK FUTURES REACT TO THE "3Gs", POINT TO HIGHER OPEN (0856
EDT/1256 GMT)
    U.S. equity index futures are pointing to a higher open for
the major averages on Wednesday.
    This after Alphabet reported double-digit ad
revenue growth in its quarterly report on Wednesday
, and Gilead Sciences said this morning
that its experimental antiviral drug, remdesivir, had met the
main goal of a trial testing it in COVID-19 patients.

    That said, Q1 Advance GDP fell 4.8% vs. a Reuters poll
calling for  a decline of 4%. 
    In any event, as the market sorts through the GOOGL, Gilead
news and the GDP data, stock futures have strengthened, while
the U.S. 10-Year Treasury yield is around 0.60%.
NYMEX oil futures are rallying nearly 20%, and attempting
to end a 2-day losing streak.
    Meanwhile, markets await the results of the latest FOMC
Meeting at 2 PM EDT (1800 GMT) At this meeting, the Fed is
expected on to reiterate its promise to do whatever it takes to
support the world's largest economy.
    Here is your premarket snapshot:
 
 
    (Terence Gabriel)
    *****

    
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