Stocks tick up as Wall Street cautiously tracks coronavirus reopenings

US stocks posted shaky gains Tuesday as Wall Street nervously tracked states attempting to reopen their economies.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped as much as 160.10 points, or 0.6 percent, to 24,382.09 in early trading before dipping into the red and then recovering. The blue-chip index up 28.79 points, or 0.1 percent, at of 24,250.78 as of 12:04 p.m.

The S&P 500 was recently flat after climbing as much as 0.5 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq pared an early 0.6 percent jump to roughly 0.3 percent by midday.

Investors are closely monitoring states and countries that have eased lockdowns aimed at curbing the coronavirus to see if they suffer new crops of infections as they begin to restart their economies.

“The market is focused on the opening of the economy, coupled with, are we seeing a rise in cases as a result of the opening of the US economy?” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist for Prudential Financial.

Tuesday’s choppy trading came as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Trump administration’s top infectious disease expert, warned of “really serious” consequences if states open prematurely.

Adding to fears, new virus clusters have emerged in South Korea, Germany and Wuhan, China, where officials had eased lockdowns imposed to stop the deadly disease from spreading.

“The uncertainties remain high, and stock markets could easily switch back into ‘panic mode,’” said AxiCorp market analyst Milan Cutkovic.

“The numbers are still very small but that’s how these things start,” Craig Erlam, senior currency analyst at OANDA, said in a commentary. “The news may come at a good time for investors with many people questioning whether the stock market truly reflects the magnitude of the situation we’re all facing.”

The S&P and the Nasdaq closed Monday in the green after New York announced plans to ease restrictions in three regions that have gotten the virus under control. The state has been the American epicenter of the pandemic with more than 300,000 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Stocks have staged a strong rally over the last month after the pandemic sparked a historic crash in February and March. The Dow closed Monday about 33 percent above its March 23 low despite a stream of economic data detailing how the crisis has kneecapped the US economy — including a record 14.7 percent unemployment rate for April.

With Post wires

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