April 27, 2020 / 3:52 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street gathers steam as U.S. states prepare to reopen

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* Caterpillar drops after rating downgrade

* BOJ pledges unlimited bond buying

* Tesla up on reports of California factory reopening

* Indexes up: Dow 1.23%, S&P 1.30%, Nasdaq 1.29% (Adds comment, details; updates prices)

By C Nivedita and Medha Singh

April 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock markets jumped more than 1% on Monday as more states prepared to ease stay-at-home orders and investors geared up for one of the busiest weeks of quarterly earnings reports, including from tech titans Apple and Microsoft.

The U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose for the second straight session, lifting the rate-sensitive financial index by 3%. Technology stocks were also the top boosts to the three main indexes.

Wall Street's fear gauge slipped for the fourth day to hit its lowest level in more than seven weeks.

Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana and Tennessee were set to join several other states in reopening businesses this week, despite disapproval from health experts as 16% of the U.S. workforce has applied for unemployment benefits.

Although trillions of dollars in stimulus have helped the S&P 500 recover nearly 30% from March lows, analysts say growing economic damage may cap further gains, unless there is progress on treatments for the disease.

"There will certainly be a tsunami of negative news that will come crashing down on markets and investors. That is consensus. We have that assumption baked in," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

"What we don't know is what the world looks like on the other side of this, and how much of the potential economic damage will be mitigated by the historic policy response."

With the Bank of Japan rolling out more stimulus on Monday, focus this week will be on the Federal Reserve's meeting ending on Wednesday, although expectations are low for more easing by the U.S. central bank.

At 11:33 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 293.23 points, or 1.23%, at 24,068.50, the S&P 500 was up 36.83 points, or 1.30%, at 2,873.57 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 111.47 points, or 1.29%, at 8,745.99.

Tesla Inc jumped 9.5% and was the biggest boost to the Nasdaq after a report said the electric-car maker is calling some workers back to its California vehicle-assembly plant next week.

About 173 companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to report quarterly earnings this week, including Apple, Amazon.com, Microsoft and Boeing.

Overall, analysts expect a decline of nearly 15% in first-quarter earnings of S&P 500 companies, with profits for the energy sector estimated to have slumped 68%.

"Earnings are in some ways like economic data coming in - abhorrent at the moment, and something that markets will try and look through when that's negative," said Edward Park, deputy chief investment officer at London-based firm Brooks Macdonald.

"What really matters is - are we seeing progress in terms of new case growth, particularly in the United States, or what will easing of the lockdown look like, and which sectors will be involved."

Caterpillar Inc fell 1% as Morgan Stanley downgraded the heavy equipment maker to "underweight".

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.32-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 4.24-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded four new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 46 new highs and six new lows. (Reporting by C Nivedita and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva, Sagarika Jaisinghani and Arun Koyyur)

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