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Dow futures rally nearly 500 points, vaccine hope, Southwest jumps

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 20, 2020.

Lucas Jackson | Reuters

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7:58 am: Reopening stocks rip higher

Shares of stocks positioned to benefit from the economy reopening rose in premarket trading on Tuesday. Airlines were a big winner with United Airlines jumped more than 7{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}. Delta and American Airlines rose more than 6{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}. Southwest rallied 6.5{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}, helped by an upgrade to buy at UBS. Cruise lines Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line rose 9.3{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} and 8.8{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}, respectively. Retailers and restaurant companies also jumped, with hopes consumers will return to their stores and dining rooms. TJX Companies rose 2.3{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} and Nordstrom popped more than 3{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}. Darden Restaurants ticked nearly 4{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} higher. Casino stock MGM Resorts gained more than 7{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} before the bell. –Fitzgerald

7:47 am: S&P 500 set to reach key level 

Tuesday’s gains set up the S&P 500 on track to reach or break its 200-day moving average for the first time since March 5. S&P 500 futures implied a gain of more than 50 points at the open. That would put the broader-market index close to its 200-day average of 2,999.81. Breaking above that level could signal a change in the market’s long-term trend from bearish to bullish. —Imbert

7:37 am: Stocks run higher on positive news on vaccines and reopenings

Wall Street latched onto more positive news Tuesday on the coronavirus front, with progress made both on the reopening of several states and progress made towards a vaccine. On the medical front, Novamax said it has started a human study of its vaccine, while Merck added that it is in collaboration with scientific research organization IAVI to develop a potential vaccine. Testing also accelerated, with nearly 500,000 reported Monday and a new low of 3.8{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} positives, according to Tom Lee at Fundstrat. At the same time, New Jersey continued its steps forward, reopening its beaches over the Memorial Day weekend largely without incident. Overall, states that reopened prior to May 1 have seen a 29{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} reported drop in cases over the past three weeks. Futures popped on the combination of positive news and pointed to a 500-point in the Dow two hours before the market open. –Cox

7:26 am: Southwest shares jump after UBS upgrades to buy

Shares of Southwest jumped more than 6{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} during Tuesday’s premarket trading after UBS upgraded the stock to a buy rating. “We see a clearer path for domestic travel…and have started to see enough evidence of LUV’s cash burn reduction that some of the tail risk is removed,” the firm said. UBS also said that the company has the clearest balance sheet restoration and fundamental valuation among the group. The firm’s 12-month price target of $41 is about 42{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} above where the stock currently trades. Last week, Southwest said that new bookings began to outpace cancellations. Shares of the airline have dropped 46{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} this year. –Stevens

7:24 am: Stock futures rally on coronavirus vaccine hopes

U.S. stock futures were sharply higher on Tuesday morning as traders grew more optimistic about the prospects of the economy successfully reopening and a potential coronavirus vaccine. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded about 500 points higher, or 2{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 1.8{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f} and 1.6{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}, respectively. Stocks that would benefit from the reopening of the economy led the sharp gains. Carnival, MGM Resorts and United Airlines all rose at least 6.8{3c4481f38fc19dde56b7b1f4329b509c88239ba5565146922180ec5012de023f}.

—With reporting by Jeff Cox.

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