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Wall Street ends week on high note, Dow closes up 3.0%

By AFP - Apr 18,2020 - Last updated at Apr 18,2020

A Gilead logo is displayed on a smartphone next to a screen showing a coronavirus graphic in Arlington, Virginia on March 25, 2020 (AFP photo)

NEW YORK  —  Wall Street stocks finished sharply higher on Friday, closing out a second week of gains as US officials moved forward with plans to gradually reopen the economy.

      The Dow Jones Industrial Average added more than 700 points, or 3.0 per cent, ending at 24,242.49.

      The broad-based S&P 500 gained 2.7 per cent to 2,874.56, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.4 per cent to 8,650.14.

      Analysts pointed to a number of positive catalysts, including a report of promising research on a Gilead Sciences drug to treat coronavirus, Boeing's announcement that it will resume US commercial plane production and the release of a White House blueprint to reopen the economy.

      In one of the first moves by a major US state, Texas Governor Greg Abbott approved retailers to employ a "to go" model that requires reopened stores to deliver items to customers' cars or homes.

      But Abbott said Texas schools would remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

      TD Ameritrade Chief Market Strategist J.J. Kinahan cautioned investors not to expect the recovery to come quickly.

      "Investors seem optimistic that there's light at the end of the tunnel," Kinahan said. "Investors should be cautious though, as the 'getting going' might end up being slower than expected."

      All three major US indices finished the week higher, shrugging off atrocious economic data, including another spike in jobless claims and a big drop in retail sales.

      Boeing jumped 14.5 per cent after announcing it will begin to ramp production back up at its Washington state commercial plane plants, bringing back around 27,000 workers.

      Gilead surged 9.7 per cent following a news report about promising research on an antiviral medication from the drugmaker being tested to treat the coronavirus.

      Apple dropped 1.4 per cent following a downgrade from Goldman Sachs, which predicted weak demand for iPhones due to the economic slowdown.

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