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US: Pandemic can't stop Wall Street rally, shares close higher

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Wall Street continued to rally on Monday, with main indices ending higher and the Nasdaq again notching a fresh record even as the coronavirus continues to bedevil the United States.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street continued to rally on Monday, with main indices ending higher and the Nasdaq again notching a fresh record even as the coronavirus continues to bedevil the United States.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.8 per cent at 26,287.03.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.6 per cent to finish at 3,179.72, while the tech-rich Nasdaq gained 2.2 per cent to end at 10,433.65 - its third straight record close.

Markets are gaining despite mounting fears the coronavirus pandemic is far from over in the United States, which has seen the world's largest outbreak with nearly 40,000 new cases reported in 24 hours on Sunday.

Though some mayors say their cities reopened too early and worry their healthcare systems will soon become overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, Karl Haeling of LBBW said Wall Street believes they will not see a return of the widespread business shutdowns of mid-March.

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"The market is showing more resilience than I expected. I didn't think we'd be immune from these bad virus numbers," he said.

"As bad as they are, there is no real appetite for locking the economy down. If the deaths start to tick up and overwhelm hospitals more broadly, maybe that changes things."

Amazon was among the tech stocks seeing big gains, rising 5.8 per cent to end at US$3,057.04, the first time its share price has ended above US$3,000.

Netflix gained 3.6 per cent to close at an all-time high, while Apple rose 2.7 per cent and Microsoft 2.2 per cent.

After a unit of billionaire Warren Buffet's giant holding Berkshire Hathaway announced it would acquire much of Dominion Energy's natural gas assets for US$4 billion in cash in addition to debt, Berkshire ended up 2.2 per cent while Dominion lost 11 per cent.

Uber closed with a gain of six per cent after announcing it would buy delivery startup Postmates for US$2.65 billion in stock. The move shakes up the sector, which has seen surging growth during the pandemic.

AFP

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