Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Fox News he's starting to "see some glimmers of hope" and there could be signs of a turnaround beyond this week.
Almost 13,000 people have died in the US and confirmed cases neared 400,000 on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Stocks had been roiled by the uncertainty around the pandemic, and the US benchmarks gave back gains on Tuesday after New York state reported the biggest one-day death toll from the virus.
But stocks got support from the upbeat sentiment on Wednesday, and as oil prices rallied. West Texas Intermediate was up 4% to $24.58 a barrel while Brent gained 1.1% to $32.21 a barrel. Some of the top gainers on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were oil names, with Chevron (CVX) firming 3.3% and Exxon Mobil (XOM) up 2.5%.
Boeing (BA) climbed 6.4% and Raytheon Technologies (RTX) -- which was added to the Dow to replace United Technologies after it spun off units and merged with Raytheon -- climbed 4.1% as almost all of the 30 blue chips gained ground.
In company news, Pinterest (PINS) rose 7.1% after the social-media company projected first-quarter revenue ahead of analysts' expectations as monthly active users climbed amid the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread lockdowns. General Motors (GM) rose 2.8% after the Department of Health and Human Services gave the company a $489.4 million contract to produce ventilators.
EHealth (EHTH) shed 11% after Muddy Waters' Carson Block told CNBC he has taken a short position in the company that owns a digital health insurance exchange. Glu Mobile (GLUU) dropped 9.2% after Stephens downgraded its rating on the stock to underweight from equal weight and lowered its price target to $4 from $5.50.
In morning trading, the Dow was up 0.9% while the Standard & Poor's 500 and the Nasdaq Composite both added 0.7%.
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