Wall Street starts higher as US states eye reopening after coronavirus lockdowns

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NEW YORK – opened higher Monday (April 27), buoyed by hopes of a return to economic normalcy as easing restrictions on businesses that have closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

About 30 minutes after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.6 per cent to 23,916.12.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.8 per cent to 2,859.62, while the tech-rich Nasdaq rose 1.1 per cent to 8,732.54.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday the hard-hit state would begin the first stage of a phased on May 15 if hospitalisations decrease.

Only construction and manufacturing would resume at first and solely in the north of the state rather than the epicentre New York city, with a two-week delay and checks for new contagion before office workers return.

Georgia has also allowed some small businesses to reopen statewide, including barber shops, bowling alleys and nail salons, provided protective health measures were in place.

Also bolstering investor sentiment was the US$480 billion in additional money approved by Congress for a programme providing grants and loans to small businesses.

Wall Street posted gains on Friday but was down overall last week, after oil prices registered an astounding plunge into negative territory as traders scrambled to unload futures contracts amid a supply glut, before recovering.

“At this juncture, the focus of investors is on the positive effect of the historic monetary and fiscal stimulus, the flattening of the Covid-19 curve, and the closer proximity to reopen the economy,” Tony Dwyer of Canaccord Genuity said.

However, he warned sectors like consumer discretionary and industrials had not yet shown enough growth to indicate the downturn is over.

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