Dow points to 3rd straight day of gains as stock market aims to shake off coronavirus selloff

U.S. stock-index futures on Wednesday pointed to a third consecutive day of gains, as Wall Street attempts to cure a selloff sparked in part by an Asian influenza that has killed hundreds and infected tens of thousands in China.

How are stock benchmarks faring?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMH20, +0.90% were up 261 points, or 0.9%, at 29,047, those for the S&P 500 index ESH20, +0.83% were rising 27.50 points, or 0.8%, at 3,327, and Nasdaq-100 futures NQH20, +1.06% advanced 92.75 points, or 1%, at 9,446.75.

On Tuesday, the Dow DJIA, +1.44%  rose 407.82 points, or 1.4%, to finish at 28,807.6, the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.50% gained 48.67 points, or 1.5%, to end at 3,297.59. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +2.10% advanced 194.57 points, or 2.1%, to close at a record 9,467.97, surpassing its previous closing high on Jan. 23.

All three major benchmarks took back the ground lost during Friday’s coronavirus-related rout.

What’s driving the market?

The market’s bullish complexion on Wednesday was being partly attributed to unverified reports of treatments that could be effective against the Wuhan virus that has stricken China and spread to other parts of the globe. Sky News reported on Wednesday that U.K. researchers had made progress in lab tests toward a vaccine for the virus that has been likened to SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. Separately, a research team at Zhejiang University claimed to identify a cocktail of drugs, namely Abidol and Darunavir, that has thus far proven effective at stanching the virus in infecting patients. A separate report from China’s media pointed to a combination of Lopinavir and Ritonavir as an effective treatment.

Those reports come as the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus rose above 24,000, as of Tuesday, and Hong Kong reported its first death from the virus, which has claimed 492 lives, the Wall Street Journal reported.

An apparent easing of anxieties around the viral outbreak, which is still feared to deliver a hit to growth in China, has helped Wall Street investors focus on corporate quarterly results, which have thus far been upbeat. A batch of earnings are still ahead.

With a little less than half of the S&P 500 companies reporting, the blended earnings growth rate shows a 0.14% rise, compared against a 2.0% decline expected at the start of earnings season, according to FactSet.

Moves in the market also come after President Donald Trump on Tuesday delivered his third State of the Union address, which painted an optimistic picture of the country’s future and touted the strength of the economy under his tenure.

Looking ahead, investors will be watching for a private-sector employment reading from Automatic Data Processing Inc. at 8:15 a.m. Eastern Time. The report is expected to show 154,000 jobs added in January, according to consensus estimates from Econoday, compared with 202,000 in December.

These employment data come ahead of a more closely followed reading of jobs on Friday from the Labor Department. At 8:30 a.m., market participants will also get a reading of international trade for December.

Which stocks are in focus?
How are other markets trading?

Government bond yields continued to climb, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, +3.18%  rising 3.6 basis points to 1.64%, a day after its biggest one-day gain since Dec. 12, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Oil prices jumped, a day after adding to losses that put the contract at its lowest settlement in more than a year. The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery CLH20, +3.02%  rose 2.7% to $50.96. In precious metals, the price of an ounce of gold for April delivery GCJ20, +0.03%  picked up $1.70, or 0.1% $1,557.20, following its lowest close since Jan. 22.

The U.S. dollar DXY, +0.14%  rose 0.1% at 98.064 relative to a basket of six major peers.

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +1.31%  was headed 1.2% higher.

In Asia overnight Wednesday, stocks rose significantly. The China CSI 300 000300, +1.13%  added 1.1%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, +1.02% rose 1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +0.42%  advanced 0.4%.

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