Stocks rally as more states reopen economies

U.S. equity markets maintained gains Wednesday even though the Federal Reserve, in the April minutes, warned the coronavirus may carry 'considerable risk' for the U.S. economy.

Even so, investors focused on the progress being made as more states loosened coronavirus restrictions laying the groundwork for an economic recovery.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained over 300 points or 1.26 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rose over 1 percent respectively.

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Wall Street also took in a bill passed by the U.S. Senate boosting oversight of companies based in China and other nations that could lead to their removal from American stock exchanges.

This as Connecticut became the latest state to begin reopening from coronavirus lockdowns, allowing retail, offices, outdoor restaurants and outdoor recreation activities to resume. Delaware, Kentucky and New Jersey also eased limits imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking at stocks, Lowe’s comparable sales spiked 12.3 percent from a year ago as customers loaded up on essential items during the early days of the outbreak. A share price of $126.57 at the close would be the highest on record.

Big-box retailer Target, meanwhile, reported a 64 percent drop in first-quarter profit as higher operating costs offset a surge in sales.

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Elsewhere, Johnson & Johnson says it will stop selling its talc-based baby powder once supplies run out due to declining demand for the product. The baby powder makes up about 0.5 percent of the company’s U.S. consumer health business.

Harley-Davidson is reopening factories this week and slimming down its product line in an effort to revive sales, according to The Wall Street Journal.

CVS Health will return $43 million received through the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. The money was given to CVS through an automatic distribution by Health and Human Services.

Shares of Chinese beverage chain Luckin Coffee, which have been halted since April 7, resumed trading on Wednesday. The company announced on April 2 that its chief operating officer fabricated sales, and the Nasdaq exchange issued a delisting notice on Tuesday.

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Commodities rallied, with West Texas Intermediate crude oil up 4.97 percent at $33.55 a barrel and gold climbing to $1,750.60.

U.S. Treasurys were little changed with the yield on the 10-year note holding at 0.711 percent.

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE and Germany’s DAX climbed 0.42 percent and 0.57 percent, respectively, while France’s CAC was unchanged.

Asian markets were mixed, with Japan’s Nikkei gaining 0.79 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edging up 0.05 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite sliding 0.51 percent.

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