Dow gains as virus treatment hopes eclipse spiking US infections

Positive news on Friday from Gilead Sciences on its COVID-19 candidate treatment help offset fears on Wall Street of mounting infections in the United States.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up 369 points or 1.4 percent to finish at 26,075.3 while the S&P 500 – a proxy for the health of US retirement and college savings accounts – gained just over 1 percent. And once again, the big winner of the day was the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index that jumped 69.69 points to finish at 10,617.44 – another record close for the tech-heavy index.

For the week, the Dow gained 1 percent, the S&P 500 rose 1.8 percent and the Nasdaq vaulted 4 percent.

Gilead Sciences Inc. said on Friday that an analysis showed that patients treated with its COVID-19 candidate treatment drug remdesivir showed an improvement in clinical recovery and a 62 percent reduction in the risk of mortality compared with standard of care. But the company cautioned that rigorious clinical trials are still needed.

Share of Gilead closed up 2.1 percent.

As the US registered the largest single-day increase in new coronavirus cases globally for the second day in a row on Thursday, states are reversing their reopenings and, in some cases, ordering small and local businesses to shutter yet again – further threatening an already uneven economic recovery.

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