By Yasin Ebrahim
Investing.com – Wall Street ended sharply higher as hopes the U.S. may turn a corner in its battle against the coronavirus as early as next week and a rally in energy prompted traders to up their bullish bets on stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.44%, or 780 points, the S&P 500 was up 3.41%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 2.58%.
Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reportedly told Fox News that the U.S. was set for a "bad week for deaths," but a "beginning of a turnaround," would emerge after this week.
The somewhat positive outlook comes during a week in which many of the virus hotspots, including New York, which has now become the epicenter of the global pandemic, have indicated that the lockdown measures, including social distancing, are having the desired effect.
The "dramatic actions" to contain the outbreak is helping to "flattening the curve," said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as total cases rose to 149,316 from 138,863 on Tuesday, taking the total number of infected across nation above 400,000.
Real Estate and energy powered the broader market higher, rising 7.4% and 6.4% respectively, with the latter receiving a boost from a late-day rally in oil prices ahead of a virtual meeting between OPEC and its allies, in which many expect production cuts to be announced.
In another boost to risk sentiment, the $349 billion small business lending program looks set for a $250 million boost, albeit with few kinks still to iron out by Congress.
The White House and Senate reached an agreement on $251 billion in additional small business funding, but House Democrats are making additional demands to fund state and local governments, food stamps and hospitals, according to CNN.
In political news, Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race, boosting healthcare names as the Independent running for the Democratic nomination had proposed a massive shake-up in the healthcare industry with proposals such as Medicare for all.