Wall Street Stocks Rise Tuesday 05/26 16:27
NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks surged on Wall Street to their highest levels since
the business shutdowns took hold in the U.S. over two months ago, climbing on
optimism Tuesday about the reopening economy even as the nation's official
death toll from the coronavirus closed in on 100,000, a mark President Donald
Trump once predicted the country would never see.
With infections mounting rapidly in places like Brazil and India, a top
global health official warned that the crisis around the world is far from over.
In a largely symbolic move, the New York Stock Exchange trading floor in
lower Manhattan reopened for the first time in two months, with plexiglass
barriers, masks and a reduced number of traders to adhere to the 6-foot
social-distancing rules. Those entering the NYSE will have their temperatures
taken and were asked to avoid public transportation.
The S&P 500 closed 1.2% higher, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained
nearly 530 points, or 2.2%. Markets around the world also rose.
"These little baby steps that we start to see different states reopening,
different policies that are being allowed that weren't allowed two weeks ago --
these are all clear signals that we're moving in the right direction," said
Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has presided over the state with the highest
death toll from the scourge, rang the bell to set off trading at the NYSE.
Several thousand brokers and others used to crowd the trading floor of the
NYSE as recently as the 1990s. But in the years since, the rise of electronic
trading from computer terminals grew to dominate the action on Wall Street.
These days, there are about 500 floor traders at the NYSE.
The rally took place as the government reported that U.S. consumer
confidence inched up this month, showing signs of stabilizing. Still, it
remains near a six-year low in the face of the widespread business shutdowns
that have sent the economy into recession and driven unemployment to levels
last seen during the Great Depression.
Over the past few days, rental car giant Hertz and South America's biggest
airline, Latam, filed for bankruptcy, joining the likes of J. Crew, J.C. Penney
and Neiman Marcus.
Worldwide, the virus has infected nearly 5.5 million people, killing over
346,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Europe has recorded
about 170,000 deaths, while the U.S. was approaching 100,000 in a span of less
than four months, more than the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam and
Korean wars combined.
The true death toll is widely believed to be significantly higher, with
experts saying many victims died of the virus without ever being tested for it.
Trump several months ago likened the coronavirus to the flu and dismissed
worries it could lead to so many deaths. The administration's leading
scientists have since warned that as many as 240,000 could perish from the
In hard-hit New York, Cuomo reported a one-day total Tuesday of 73 deaths,
the lowest figure in months, and down from a peak of nearly 800.
"In this absurd new reality, that is good news," he said.
Still, even the GOP convention in August is up in the air, with Republicans
talking about pulling it out of North Carolina because of concerns authorities
there might not allow such a large gathering. Georgia and Florida --- both led
by Republican governors --- have offered to host the convention.
In Italy, where the crisis is easing but the death toll is a staggering
33,000, the ancient ruins at Pompeii were reopened to the public Tuesday, and
the Colosseum in Rome, one of the world's biggest tourist attractions, will
begin receiving visitors again on June 1, though entrance times will be
staggered to reduce crowding and tickets must be bought online.
The World Health Organization said that the world remains mired in only the
first stage of the pandemic, putting a damper on hopes for a speedy global
"Right now, we're not in the second wave. We're right in the middle of the
first wave globally," said Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO's executive director.
"We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way
up," Ryan said, pointing to South America, South Asia and other parts of the
India, with a population of over 1.3 billion, saw a record single-day jump
in new cases for the seventh straight day. It reported 6,535 new infections
Tuesday, raising its total to over 145,000, including close to 4,200 deaths.
In Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro has raged against state and local
leaders enforcing stay-at-home measures, WHO warned that before reopening the
economy, authorities must have enough testing in place to control the spread of
Brazil has 375,000 coronavirus infections --- second only to the 1.6 million
cases in the U.S. --- and has counted over 23,000 deaths, but many fear
Brazil's true toll is much higher.
Ryan said that because of Brazil's "intense" transmission rates, it should
keep some stay-at-home measures in place, regardless of the damage to the
"You must continue to do everything you can," he said.
A U.S. travel ban was set to take effect Tuesday for foreigners coming from
In Europe, Russian's Vladimir Putin announced that the postponed military
parade marking the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II
will take place on June 24. Victory Day has become the most important holiday
in Russia, traditionally marked on May 9 with a show of armed might in Red
Putin said the country has passed the peak of the outbreak.
Russia reported a record one-day spike Tuesday of 174 deaths, bringing the
country's confirmed death toll to over 3,800. Russia's coronavirus caseload
surpassed 360,000 --- the third-highest in the world --- with almost 9,000 new
The country's comparatively low mortality rate has raised questions among
experts. Russian officials deny manipulating the figures and attribute the low
numbers to the effectiveness of the country's lockdowns.