Boeing, lockdown easing hopes set to lift Wall Street

(Reuters) – Wall Street was set to jump at the open on Friday following President Donald Trump’s new guidelines to re-open the economy and on a report of a drug to potentially treat COVID-19, while Boeing headed higher on plans to resume production.

The biggest U.S. planemaker (BA.N) soared 11.2% in premarket trading after saying it would resume commercial aircraft production next week in Washington state after halting operations last month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The benchmark S&P 500 .SPX is now set for its third weekly gain in four, on the back of a raft of global stimulus measures and hopes that statewide lockdowns would be eased as the virus outbreak showed signs of ebbing.

Late on Thursday, Trump outlined a plan to ease the shutdown in a staggered, three-stage process, but the plan was a set of recommendations rather than orders and left the decision largely up to state governors.

Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O) surged 11% following a media report that patients with severe symptoms of the disease had responded positively to its experimental drug, remdesivir.

“With news of a potential beneficial treatment on the same day that Trump laid out plans to re-open the U.S. economy, there is clear optimism over the possibility that some semblance of normality could soon return,” Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG in London wrote in a note.

The risk-on sentiment pushed Wall Street’s fear gauge below 40, but the S&P 500 is still about 20% away from reclaiming its record high and evidence of a severe economic slump is piling up.

With widespread production halts putting millions out of work, U.S. jobless claims touched 22 million in the past month, while China’s economy contracted for the first time in nearly three decades in the first quarter.

Big U.S. lenders rebounded in premarket trading with Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) rising more than 6% after being hammered this week on reporting several billion dollars in reserves to cover potential loan defaults.

“The mid-week souring in risk sentiment is seeing a turnaround, as optimism for a way out of this virus crisis returns to the markets,” said Raffi Boyadjian, senior investment analyst at XM in Cyprus.

The world’s top oilfield services provider Schlumberger NV (SLB.N) rose 5% even as it recorded an $8.5 billion charge in the first quarter and cut its dividend after slashing the value of some of its units following a collapse in oil prices.

At 8:53 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 678 points, or 2.9%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 69 points, or 2.48% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 143 points, or 1.64%.

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