Markets soar on optimism that the number of coronavirus cases is stabilizing

Wall Street opened on a high note Tuesday morning on optimistic news about coronavirus testing and stabilization of the outbreak in some states.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average kicked off the day with a gain of 450 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were both up by around 2 percent.

Tuesday marked the first day of earnings season, with JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo offering the first look into how the coronavirus pandemic has affected America’s largest banks.

Social distancing measures have kept millions of working Americans at home and led to more than 16 million filing for first-time unemployment benefits. That has meant affected companies and individuals have all reached out to their financial institutions to extend credit lines.

JPMorgan Chase, the world’s biggest bank by revenue, posted a 69 percent drop in first quarter profit. Wells Fargo reported earnings per share of just one cent.

Adding to the overall economic outlook, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday it expects the global economy to shrink by 3 percent this year and forecasts the downturn as being the “worst recession since the Great Depression.”

“This crisis is like no other,” Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s chief economist, wrote in the report, citing “severe uncertainty about the duration and intensity of the shock” to the global economy.

President Donald Trump, who originally suggested reopening the U.S. economy by Easter, said at the weekend he would weigh multiple factors to determine when to open up the country. He is set to formally announce later on Tuesday an economic panel of business leaders and other experts, a group he calls the “opening our country council.”

Three states on the West Coast and seven on the East Coast also announced they would formulate their own plan to reopen their economies, prompting Trump to comment during a coronavirus task force briefing on Monday that he would try to reopen states whether or not the state governors were in agreement.

That would create “a constitutional crisis like you haven’t seen in decades” and could result in a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is leading the East Coast effort, warned Tuesday.

“If he thinks he’s going to force this state, or any state for that matter, to do something that is reckless or irresponsible, that could endanger human life, literally, because we don’t reopen correctly, you will see those virus numbers go up again, and more people will die,” Cuomo said.

New York remains the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. There are currently just over 582,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S.

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