What happened to the stock market Wednesday: Remdesivir optimism sparks rally

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A man wearing a mask walks by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 17, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City.

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

Dow Jones Industrial Average surges 532 points

The Dow surged 532.31 points, or 2.21%, to close at 24,663.86. The S&P 500 climbed 2.66% to 2,939.51. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 3.57% to 8,914.71. Wednesday’s rally on Wall Street was sparked by positive data from a potential coronavirus treatment from Gilead Sciences.

‘Clear-cut’ remdesivir benefits

A study of Gilead’s remdesivir drug conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases met its primary endpoint, the drugmaker said. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said remdesivir shows a “clear-cut” positive effect when treating the virus. The Gilead news along with the strong move higher from Alphabet offset news of a steep drop in U.S. economic activity. U.S. GDP shrank by 4.8% in the first quarter for the country’s biggest contraction since the financial crisis. 

Gilead shares jump, Alphabet rallies

Gilead shares jumped 5.68% on the back of its announcements while Alphabet gained 8.89% after reporting a slower-than-expected decline in revenue growth.

What happens next?

Weekly jobless claims data are scheduled for release. McDonald’s, Twitter and Amazon are among the companies scheduled to report earnings on Thursday.

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