May 7, 2020 / 8:33 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street gets PayPal lift as Nasdaq wipes out 2020 declines

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    * Energy, financials gain most among S&P sectors
    * PayPal jumps on strong payments recovery forecast
    * Lyft surges on revenue beat, cost cuts
    * Millions more Americans file for jobless benefits
    * Indexes up: Dow 0.89%, S&P 500 1.15%, Nasdaq 1.41%

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    By Lewis Krauskopf
    May 7 (Reuters) - Wall Street's indexes climbed on Thursday,
with the Nasdaq erasing losses for 2020, following a clutch of
upbeat earnings reports led by PayPal as investors looked past
more weak jobs data caused by the coronavirus-induced economic
downturn.
    Energy, financials and materials,
which have lagged this year, led the way among S&P 500 sectors,
while consumer staples lagged the most. 
    Shares of PayPal Holdings soared 14% and boosted
the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq after the company said it expects a
strong recovery in payments volumes in the second quarter as
social distancing drives more people to shop online.

    Shares of media company ViacomCBS Inc and
ride-hailing firm Lyft also jumped after their
earnings, as a first-quarter reporting season that Refinitiv
estimates will show a 12% decline in earnings begins to wind
down.     ViacomCBS shares rose 10.3% and Lyft shares climbed
21.7%.
    Stocks have rebounded sharply since late March from the
coronavirus-fueled sell-off, helped by massive monetary and
fiscal stimulus. Investors are now watching efforts by a number
of states to spark their economies by easing restrictions put in
place to fight the outbreak.
    “Everything is going smoothly so far and I think there’s an
assumption on the market’s part that that’s a good sign," said
Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth
Financial Network. "The market is looking at this and saying so
far, so good.”
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 211.25 points,
or 0.89%, to 23,875.89, the S&P 500 gained 32.77 points,
or 1.15%, to 2,881.19 and the Nasdaq Composite added
125.27 points, or 1.41%, to 8,979.66.  
    The Nasdaq turned marginally positive for 2020 by closing
above 8,972.604, after being down well over 20% for the year as
of late March. The S&P 500 remains down over 10% this year.

   
             
             
 
    Data showed millions more Americans sought unemployment
benefits last week, suggesting layoffs broadened from
consumer-facing industries to other segments of the economy and
could remain elevated even as many parts of the country start to
reopen.
    The U.S. employment report for April is due on Friday.
    “The market rightly or wrongly is just much more focused on
what that data looks like two months from now, not what that
data looks like right now,” said Eric Freedman, chief investment
officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
    Investors were also encouraged by news that China's exports
unexpectedly rose in April for the first time this year as
factories raced to make up for lost sales due to the coronavirus
pandemic.
    The development of treatments for the coronavirus has been
watched closely by Wall Street as key for resuming economic
activity. Moderna Inc shares rose 8.7% after the
company sped up plans for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine and
said it expected to start a late-stage trial in early summer.

    Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
2.96-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.33-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
    The S&P 500 posted nine new 52-week highs and no new lows;
the Nasdaq Composite recorded 56 new highs and eight new lows.
    About 10.4 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges,
below the 11.7 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

    
 (Additional reporting by Noel Randewich in San Francisco, Chuck
Mikolajczak in New York, C Nivedita and Medha Singh in
Bengaluru; Editing by Sagarika Jaisinghani, Bernard Orr, Arun
Koyyur and Cynthia Osterman)
  
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