Wall Street started the new month in positive territory as investors continued to look past the new COVID-19 cases and death tolls.
At the finishing bell, on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the Standard and Poor 500 index gained +23.49 points, or +0.7% to 3,294.61, its highest closing level since Feb. 21. The S&P 500 is also within 3% of reaching an all-time high.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed +236.08 points higher, or +0.9%, at 26,664.40. The Nasdaq Composite surged +1.5% to an all-time high (10,905.40), ending the day at 10,902.80.
Those gains came after Microsoft and Apple powered higher, rising +5.62% and +2.52%, respectively.
The U.S. count for new confirmed cases of COVID-19 continued its march toward 5 million, with the death toll reaching 155,000, as White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr Deborah Birx warned that the pandemic had entered a “new phase.”
Birx’s warning came after President Trump continued to push his belief that the increase in cases was only a result of increased testing.
He tweeted over the weekend that Dr Anthony Fauci, his administration’s top infectious disease expert, was “Wrong!” for suggesting the U.S. failed to properly respond to the outbreak, while other countries did.
New COVID-19 cases reached 4.69 million in the U.S., with the death toll rising to 155,124, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
Nearly 1.5 million people have recovered.
New daily cases have increased in the past week in 13 states, the data show, and 13 states have seen more than a double-digit percentage of tests turn out positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, sentiment on Wall Street also got a boost after Eli Lilly started the start of a phase 3 trial of LY-CoV555, antibody treatment.
The trial will explore whether LY-CoV555 can prevent the virus from spreading between nursing home residents and staffers. The stock gained +1.70%.
Investors continue to monitor negotiations over a new stimulus package as lawmakers struggle to make progress.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows held “productive” discussions on Monday but added there are several issues still outstanding.
“We are moving down the track,” Pelosi said, but “still have our differences.”
Both sides have indicated they agree on another $1,200 stimulus check, but remain deadlocked on additional unemployment assistance.
In economic data, the Institute for Supply Management reported that its manufacturing gauge rose to a reading of 54.2, while new orders jumped to 61.5.
Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in factory activity.
Investors are also monitoring developments between Microsoft Corp. and video-sharing app TikTok, owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance.
Microsoft confirmed talks to buy the American unit of the company, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he spoke with President Trump.
Trump on Friday had signalled that he was considering a ban on the popular app.
On Monday, Trump said he favoured an outright purchase of TikTok by Microsoft and said that the deal should be completed before Sept. 15 if TikTok isn’t avoiding a U.S. ban.
Trump on Monday suggested the U.S. government should get part of the proceeds of any sale of TikTok.