As good news from Gilead Sciences about a possible coronavirus treatment hit the airways, stocks may end their best month in many decades. The S&P 500, in particular, is on track for its best performance since 1974. This, in spite, of sharp declines in economic activity within the U.S.
The three major indexes each closed above 2 percent on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average went full speed ahead to close 532.31 points higher, an increase of 2.2 percent. The Dow saw a midweek closing at 24,633.86. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 closed at 2,939.51, or 2.7 percent higher and the Nasdaq ended the day at 8,914.71, or 3.6 percent higher.
The Federal Reserve also added to the boost by pledging near-zero interest rates indefinitely to aid the economy.
As of yesterday, the S&P 500 is up by more than 13 percent for the month of April. Should that hold by the end of closing on Thursday, it will be the S&P 500’s biggest monthly gain since 1974.
The Dow is 12.4 percent higher and is also headed for its largest monthly gain, breaking records not seen since 1987.
Overall, the market has seen one of its most volatile months in April. But there seems to be good news on the horizon. Research into remdesivir, a potential coronavirus medication from biotech pharmaceutical, Gilead, is showing promise in treating the coronavirus.
The study has been conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Gilead says research is at its endpoint and the drug improved the condition of patients participating in the study. Shares for Gilead jumped 5.7 percent on the news.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of President Trump’s lead coronavirus task force experts, heads the institute as director and has said that remdesivir illustrates positive effects when taken to treat COVID-19.
Some analysts believe a possible treatment could aid in a more expedient economic recovery.
Stocks also got a bit of help from tech stocks on Wednesday. Alphabet’s stock ended 8.9 percent higher after the tech company announced that its YouTube ad revenues were better than expected. Amazon, Apple, and Facebook stock also gained momentum and ended higher at 2.5 percent, 3.3 percent, and 6.2 percent respectively.
The U.S. GDP shrunk by 4.8 percent during the first quarter and stocks have been volatile since March 23 when selloffs due to expectations of the virus’s impact ensued. But, stocks have rallied many days since the selloffs, and news of much of the economy opening in May is sending more positive economic signs.