US stocks have jumped about 1.0 per cent with the tech-heavy Nasdaq hovering near a fresh record high on hopes of a bounce back in post-pandemic economic activity, as investors shrugged off rising new COVID-19 cases in several US states.
The Nasdaq opened above its all-time closing high on June 10, lifted by shares of the largest US companies by market capitalisation, Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc.
Still, the index, which is rising for the seventeenth time in 20 sessions was a touch away from a new intraday record.
The benchmark S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow are about 7.0 per cent and 11 per cent below their respective record closing highs hit in February.
Oil prices jumped amid signs of gradual recovery in demand and a promise by oil producers to meet supply cuts, pushing up the S&P energy sector by 1.8 per cent.
“We expect the overshoot in equities to continue, driven by the very aggressive monetary policy easing, fiscal expansions and the continued reopening of the global economy with some temporary setbacks,” said Sebastien Galy, senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management.
Risk of a resurgence of the virus outbreak prompting another round of restrictive measures has led to choppy trading sessions this week.
However, the S&P 500 and the Dow are headed for their fourth weekly rise in five following a strong retail sales report and signs of additional official stimulus.
California, Florida and North Carolina urged mandatory mask use on Thursday as at least six states set daily records for new coronavirus cases.
Mainland China also reported 32 new cases of infections, an up-tick from a day earlier.
Markets are likely to become more volatile during Friday’s session on account of “quadruple witching,” as investors unwind interests in futures and options contracts prior to expiration.
In early trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 205.51 points, or 0.79 per cent, at 26,285.61, the S&P 500 was up 25.97 points, or 0.83 per cent, at 3,141.31.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 89.40 points, or 0.90 per cent, at 10,032.45.
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc jumped 5.8 per cent on plans to reopen theatres at about 450 locations in the United States next month and the company expects returning to full-seating capacity around Thanksgiving.
Later in the day, US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will participate in a video conference where he will talk about ways regions and cities across the country can help their workforces better withstand and recover from shocks related to the pandemic.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 3.27-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.60-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 17 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 87 new highs and no new low.