Stocks in the United States climbed on Monday, shaking off the continuing rise in coronavirus cases for another day, as investors instead focused on the coming earnings season and their first chance in months to hear about how businesses were coping with the pandemic.
The SP 500 rose more than 1 percent, gains that put it close to being back in break-even territory for the year. Stocks in Europe and Asia were also higher.
Many companies, rocked by uncertainties caused by the spread of the coronavirus, have stopped giving guidance on profit projections through the year, so traders will be looking especially closely at the quarterly numbers as they are reported.
On Monday, Pepsico shares rose after the company reported better than expected results, in part because of a jump in sales of snack foods. On Tuesday, JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will all report their results, and a range of other companies from Netflix to Delta Air Lines will also provide updates later in the week.
The gains recently have come despite the unrelenting spread of the coronavirus in many parts of the world, but the market has also proven itself susceptible to a sudden downdraft if sentiment shifts and investors choose to focus on the risks to the economy profits — something that could happen if corporate results come in far weaker than expected.
The recent gains in the SP 500, in fact, have only served to recoup losses from early in June.
Florida on Sunday reported more than 15,000 new cases, the highest single-day total by any state since the start of the pandemic. The economic crisis is prompting a growing coalition in the United States — including Democrats and Republicans, labor and business — to push for a new training effort to upgrade the skills of American workers, creating what one proponent called “a Marshall Plan for ourselves.”
But lifting sentiment on Monday was news from Pfizer that its candidates for a potential Covid-19 vaccine, being developed with BioNTech, have received “Fast Track” designation from the Food and Drug Administration that could enable the potential vaccines to be developed more quickly. Shares of both companies rose.
Oil futures reversed earlier losses to climb slightly, beginning a week when major producers are meeting to consider market trends; OPEC+, the group that includes Saudi Arabia and Russia, is likely to increase their output in August, as coronavirus lockdowns ease and demand begins to rise again.