Stocks rally as small-business relief clears Senate, oil soars

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Chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab Liz Ann Sonders joins Barron’s markets editor Ben Levisohn, Barron’s reporter Carleton English and Barron’s associate editor Jack Hough to discuss which economic indicators investors should watch for.

U.S. equity markets are on track to snap a two-day skid after a $483 billion coronavirus aid package sailed through the Senate, and oil spiked following President Trump's threat to take action against Iran if it harasses US ships.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 426 points, or 1.85 percent, in the opening minutes of trading while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite gained 1.99 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

GAS PRICES TO STAY CHEAP AFTER CORONAVIRUS SLIDE

The relief package, aimed at replenishing funds for small businesses, is expected to pass a House vote on Thursday before heading to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for June delivery surged 32 percent to $15.29 a barrel after Trump threatened to destroy Iranian gunboats that harass US ships. The contract had plunged 60 percent this week.

Looking at stocks, Netflix’s quarterly profit surged 106 percent year-over-year to $709.1 million after the company added 15.7 million paid subscribers worldwide as people spent more time at home to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Chipotle Mexican Grill reported strong quarterly earnings, with online sales soaring 81 percent while in-restaurant dining was shuttered.

Delta Air Lines posted a net loss of $534 million in the first quarter as Americans eliminated non-essential travel. The airline said it was burning through $100 million cash a day at the end of March and expects that to moderate to about $50 million a day by the end of the June quarter as its measures to conserve cash kick in.

United Airlines raised more than $1 billion through a secondary offering, pricing 39.25 million shares at $26.50 apiece, or 4.9 percent below Tuesday’s close.

Meanwhile, the online travel booking website Expedia Group is nearing a deal to sell a $1 billion stake to private-equity firms Silver Lake and Apollo Global Management, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

U.S. Treasurys slipped, pushing the yield on the 10-year note up 1 basis point to 0.58 percent.

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE climbed 2.2 percent, Germany’s DAX added 1.34 percent and France’s CAC gained 1.17 percent.

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Asian markets finished mixed, with Japan’s Nikkei sliding 0.74 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.42 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

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