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Wall Street advanced on Tuesday as the prospect of additional stimulus and a record jump in retail sales suggested the US economy could bounce back sooner than expected, five months into its pandemic-inflicted recession. All three major US stock indexes posted their third consecutive daily gains, Stephen Culp reported for Reuters on June 17, 2020.

The Dow and the S&P remain about 11% and 8% below their respective record closing highs reached in February, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq hovers about 1% below its all-time closing high reached on June 10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 526.82 points, or 2.04%, to 26,289.98, the S&P 500 gained 58.15 points, or 1.90%, to 3,124.74 and the Nasdaq Composite added 169.84 points, or 1.75%, to 9,895.87.

Data released by the Commerce Department showed retail sales jumped by a record 17.7% in May, blowing past the 8% increase analysts expected. “The retail sales numbers is the story that’s driving markets higher,” said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina. “But the smell of stimulus in the air is adding to today’s gains for sure.”

Investor risk appetite was given a further boost by the Trump administration’s anticipated $1 trillion dollar infrastructure package aimed at jump-starting the economy. At the beginning of his two-day testimony before Congress, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said, “Until the public is confident that the disease is contained, a full recovery is unlikely.”

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