Stocks rose Thursday as traders bet on the U.S. economy’s reopening soon and as oil prices rebounded.
The Dow was up more than 400 points, or 1.8%, while the S&P 500 also gained 1.8%. The Nasdaq added 1.7%, turning positive for the year.
Energy stocks were among the biggest gainers as oil prices jumped nearly 10% on Thursday, bringing their gain for the week to more than 30%. If that weekly gain holds, it will be the biggest-ever for West Texas Intermediate futures.
The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) jumped nearly 3%.
Stocks that would benefit from the reopening of the economy also gained in early trading, including Hilton Worldwide and MGM Resorts. Hilton traded 1.8% higher while MGM gained 1.7%.
Thursday’s gains came even as 3.17 million more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the seven-week total to 33.5 million. But while jobless claims continue to rise, last week’s tally was the lowest since shortly after the coronavirus was declared a pandemic.
“As awful these figures are, it is the least amount of claims since mid March as we’ve likely cycled through the worst of the forced shutdown. We can now start analyzing the pace of reopenings, the level of business and what that new reality will look like,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group.
States such as California and New York have unveiled plans to gradually reopen the economy. Other states, including Georgia, have already let some nonessential businesses resume operations.
Meanwhile, China posted better-than-expected exports for April. Data from the General Administration of Customs released on Thursday showed exports rose 3.5% in April, versus expectations of a 15.7% decrease from economists in a Reuters poll. Recent data out of China, where the earliest cases of the coronavirus were reported, have been closely watched by investors as the country was one of the first to ease lockdown measures.
In corporate news, Peloton reported revenues surged 66% during its fiscal third quarter as more Americans bought fitness equipment for at-home use during the coronavirus pandemic. Critically, Peloton said it is seeing demand from new customers who’ve been inspired to buy one of its bikes amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
The S&P 500 and Dow were coming off their first decline in three days.