Wall Street gains ground after virus-driven selloff

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© Reuters. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York© Reuters. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York

By Medha Singh

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes rose about 1% on Wednesday after suffering their worst four-day percentage fall in more than a year on fears of the economic damage from the global spread of the coronavirus.

Investors were cautious as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans to prepare for the virus to spread in the United States. President Donald Trump said he will hold a news conference on the coronavirus at 6 p.m. ET (2300 GMT).

As of Wednesday, death toll in Italy had crossed 19 and new cases in South Korea rose above 1,260, while Greece and Brazil reported their first cases of the virus.

“It’s unclear if it’s something that will be resolved in weeks or months or a longer time,” said Chester Spatt, professor of finance at Carnegie Mellon University.

“There is potential for shock to both supply and demand sides of the economy. The magnitude of the shock is uncertain right now.”

All major S&P sectors were trading higher, with technology leading the charge on a 1.6% gain. Defensive utilities, real estate and consumer staples were the laggards.

At 09:46 a.m. ET, the was up 291.27 points, or 1.08%, at 27,372.63 and the was up 39.01 points, or 1.25%, at 3,167.22. The was up 138.33 points, or 1.54%, at 9,103.94.

The Dow has lost more than 1,900 points in the past two days alone, while the Nasdaq has slid 8.9% from its record peak hit last Wednesday.

The S&P 500, which is down 7.8% from its all-time high, has lost about $1.74 trillion in market capitalization in the last two sessions, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices senior analyst Howard Silverblatt.

Among stocks, TJX (NYSE:) Cos Inc jumped 7.8% as the offprice retailer beat quarterly same-store sales estimates.

Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:) Inc rose 6.1% as Starbucks Corp (NASDAQ:) said its Canadian stores would start selling the company’s plant-based breakfast sandwich next week.

Walt Disney (NYSE:) Co slipped 0.6% on news Robert Iger will step down as chief executive officer, handing the reins to Disney Parks head Bob Chapek.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.63-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.91-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week highs and 12 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 10 new highs and 56 new lows.

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