Technology companies led stocks higher on Wall Street Tuesday as investors focused on how and when authorities might begin to ease business shutdowns and limits on people’s movements imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Large companies also started reporting their first-quarter earnings, giving investors an early peek into how the outbreak was affecting them.
Traders will be poring over companies’ quarterly report cards over the next few weeks to learn how the pandemic has changed corporate America’s prospects for profit growth this year.
The S&P 500 index climbed 3.1%, erasing its losses from a day earlier. The technology-heavy Nasdaq rose 3.9%, aided by strong gains in Microsoft, Apple and several chipmakers.
The broad rally came amid new signs that government officials are considering how to gradually reopen the economy.
President Donald Trump has been discussing with senior aides how to roll back federal social distancing recommendations that expire at the end of the month.
And governors across the U.S. are collaborating on plans to reopen their economies in what is likely to be a drawn-out, step-by-step process.
The discussions follow some signs that the outbreak may be leveling off in some of the hardest-hit areas, including New York. In Italy, Spain and other places around Europe where infections and deaths have begun stabilizing, the process of reopening economies is already underway, with certain businesses and industries allowed to reopen in a calibrated effort aimed at balancing public health against their countries’ economic well-being.
“Wall Street is encouraged simply by the conversation of a reopening of the economy,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist, CFRA.