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Stocks Push Higher in Early Trading After White House Moves on COVID-19 Aid, Earnings View Boost

10:05AM ET 8/10/2020 MT Newswires
Stocks firmed in early trading on Monday as investors eyed signals from the White House about more COVID-19 stimulus for Americans, while results from recent corporate earnings prompted an upbeat forecast for the rest of the year from Goldman Sachs.

On the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nike (NKE) jumped 3.6% while Boeing (BA) gained 4.3% to lead slightly more than two thirds of the blue-chip components higher. Industrials and energy helped lift up the Standard & Poor's 500, with gains of about 0.8% each.

The upbeat sentiment comes after President Donald Trump on the weekend issued several directives on COVID-19 aid, including $400 a week in a lost wages assistance program and the extension of a moratorium on evictions. That's after talks last week among congressional lawmakers over more stimulus stalled.

Also adding to the positive tone, Goldman Sachs said in a note that they were lifting their S&P 500 earnings estimate to $130 a share from $115 expected previously, and have "greater confidence" in their 2021 EPS estimate of $170. That's after second-quarter earnings season "cleared an extremely low bar" with a narrower-than-expected year-on-year decline.

In company news, Eastman Kodak (KODK) sank 40% after its $765 million government loan to produce pharmaceutical ingredients was placed on hold by the US International Development Finance Corporation following "recent allegations of wrongdoing," according to the agency.

MGM Resorts International (MGM) rallied 18% after IAC/InterActive Corp (IAC) said it has accumulated a 12% interest in the company over the last few months. PPL Corp. (PPL) was up 2.3% after the utility company's second-quarter adjusted earnings met analysts' expectations, although revenue missed views.

In morning trading, the Dow was up 0.9%, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite was little changed.