Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Fox News ahead of the market's open that he is starting to "see some glimmers of hope" and there could be signs of a turnaround beyond this week.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said later during his daily press briefing that the closing of nonessential businesses in the state as well as requiring residents to stay at home is slowing the spread of the disease. "It is flattening the curve," he said.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 14,000 people have died from the respiratory disease while nearly 420,000 have been infected in the US.
All 11 sectors of the Standard & Poor's 500 ended higher, with nine adding more than 2%.
Energy shares gained more than 6.7%, driven higher as crude futures jumped a day before a meeting between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers that may lead to a cut in production to offset falling worldwide demand because of the pandemic.
West Texas Intermediate popped more than 10% to $26.09 a barrel while international benchmark Brent gained 5.9% to $33.75 a barrel.
Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) each gained 6.3%. Apache (APA) advanced more than 16%.
Materials added 5%, pulled higher by Dow's (DOW) 7.6% gain. Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) rose 5.8%, and Mosaic (MOS) firmed 1.1%.
Financials ended up 4.4% as Goldman Sachs Group (GS) rose 6.6%, American Express (AXP) added 5.1%, and JPMorgan (JPM) gained 4%.
Wells Fargo (WFC) advanced 5.3% after the Federal Reserve temporarily lifted the cap it had placed on the bank's balance sheet that would allow the lender to provide more loans to small businesses hurt by the pandemic.
Sen. Bernie Sanders's exit from the campaign to be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee helped health care shares add almost 4.2%. The Vermont senator's policies, including Medicare for All, had pressured the sector at times before former Vice President Joe Biden became the likely nominee in recent weeks.
United Health Group (UNH) led blue-chips gainers, rising 8%. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) gained 4.2%, and Merck (MRK) added 3.9%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 each ended more than 3.4% higher. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose almost 2.6%.
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