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Stocks extend gains, Dow surges 500 points as Boeing and Apple rise

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Stocks rose in volatile trading Monday as Wall Street cheered news on Boeing and traders shrugged off the latest surge in coronavirus cases. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 517 points higher, or 2.1%. The S&P 500 was up 1.3% while the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.1%.

Shares of Dow-member Boeing rose 10.5% as certification flights for the Boeing 737 Max began Monday. The test is seen by investors as a critical step in Boeing’s worst-ever corporate crisis, which began in March 2019 after two crashes in five months killed 346 people.

Apple was also among the biggest contributors of gains on the Dow, climbing 2.1%. Facebook, meanwhile, traded 1.9% higher to recover from an earlier decline. The social media giant was first under pressure after more companies said they will pause advertising on its platforms. Since Friday, Starbucks, Coca Cola and Guinness-parent Diageo all announced they will halt advertising on social media.

Investors bet on select stocks on hopes most state economies will continue to reopen even as some hotspots pop up. Southwest Airlines jumped 5.1% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the shares to buy from sell. Shares of retailer Gap and Kohl’s rose 4% and 5%, respectively.

The major averages also got a boost after the National Association of Realtors said pending home sales jumped by a record 44.3% in May

Wall Street was under pressure earlier in the day after data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed more than 2.5 million Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in the U.S. On Friday alone, there were 45,255 additional cases were reported, bringing the country’s seven-day average to more than 41% from the prior week.

Florida said an additional 5,409 cases were confirmed Sunday. However, that’s down from a total of 8,424 cases confirmed on Saturday. To be sure, the percentage of positive tests has risen to 13.67% from 12.21%.

Some, such as Tom Lee of Fundstrat Global Advisors, say they’re taking solace in the fact that the acceleration in infection numbers is not yet leading to a marked rise in fatalities.

“While there were many alarming COVID-19 ‘headlines’ over the weekend, noting ‘record case’ numbers, daily US deaths attributed to COVID-19 fell to a new low of 253,” Lee said in an email to clients. 

“And while many are inclined to become ‘full blown’ bearish again, we think the divergence in healthcare in COVID-19 (cases vs deaths) and the trajectories mirroring NYC near its peak tells us” we may be close to the point when cases begin to slow, he added.

The major averages posted their second weekly declines in three weeks on Friday. The Dow dropped 3.3% last week while the S&P 500 lost 2.9%. The Nasdaq Composite fell 1.9% last week. On Friday, the Dow dropped more than 700 points while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each fell over 2.4%.

“The bearish argument for the current market is breadth has not strengthened during this period of consolidation,” said Andrew Thrasher, founder of Thrasher Analytics, in a note. “That’s discouraging as more stocks have broken down along with the index.”

Thrasher noted 3,150 will be a key level to watch for investors. “I’m less interested in risky assets until we get back to that level,” he said.

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