Biden win gives Dow second best point gain ever

The 2020 race is narrowing boosting investor optimism

U.S. equity markets surged Wednesday after former Vice President Joe Biden’s strong showing on Super Tuesday lifted health care stocks and helped narrow the field of 2020 contenders as billionaire Mike Bloomberg tossed his hat out of the ring.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied over 1,173 points, the second-best point gain ever or 4 percent. The S&P rose 4 percent and the Nasdaq just under that level.

DOW'S BIGGEST POINT SWINGS IN HISTORY

Wednesday's rebound came one day after the Federal Reserve's emergency rate cut to insulate the U.S. economy from the new coronavirus.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 33290.08 -533.37 -1.58%
SP500 S&P 500 4166.45 -55.41 -1.31%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14030.375849 -130.97 -0.92%

With votes still being counted, Biden had secured about 497delegates on Super Tuesday, according to the Fox News Tracker, capping a dramatic comeback after his campaign was left for dead following the Nevada caucus on Feb. 22. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the self-declared democratic socialist and perceived frontrunner ahead of Tuesday night, had secured 461 delegates as of 4 PM ET Wednesday.

Health care stocks, led by the insurers, soared in response to Biden’s big night. The names had been badly beaten down, underperforming the S&P 500, as Sanders, who is an advocate of Medicare-for-all, climbed in the polls. UnitedHealth Group, which closed nearly 11 percent higher.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
UNH UNITEDHEALTH GROUP, INC. 389.37 -6.53 -1.65%
CI CIGNA CORP. 231.97 -4.72 -1.99%
ANTM ANTHEM, INC. 369.21 -8.60 -2.28%
CVS CVS HEALTH CORP. 82.40 -1.83 -2.17%

Airlines, cruise operators and online travel platforms, which have been under pressure amid the COVID-19 outbreak, won some relief while drugmakers working on treatments for COVID-19 were also higher.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AAL AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP, INC. 22.29 +0.06 +0.27%
CCL CARNIVAL CORP. 28.18 -0.24 -0.84%
EXPE EXPEDIA GROUP, INC. 162.93 -2.99 -1.80%
NVAX NOVAVAX INC. 174.41 -5.48 -3.05%

On the earnings front, Campbell Soup reported earnings and sales that topped Wall Street estimates and raised its 2020 profit outlook.

Jack Daniels maker Brown-Forman lowered its guidance for sales growth due to an uncertain economic and geopolitical backdrop.

Abercrombie & Fitch’s quarterly same-store sales exceeded forecasts amid strong holiday demand at its flagship stores in the U.S.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
CPB CAMPBELL SOUP CO. 45.27 -0.42 -0.92%
BF.B BROWN-FORMAN CORP. 73.02 -1.76 -2.35%
ANF ABERCROMBIE & FITCH CO. 40.34 -1.57 -3.75%

U.S. Treasuries gained, pushing the yield on the 10-year note to just above 1 percent. The benchmark yield touched a record low 0.90 percent on Tuesday.

West Texas Intermediate closed around the $47 per barrel level. OPEC and its allies will meet Thursday and Friday to discuss a production cut in the face of weaker demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Gold was little changed at $1,639 an ounce.

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE spiked 1.5 percent while Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC added 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

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Overnight, Asian markets finished mixed with China’s Shanghai Composite adding 0.6 percent and Japan’s Nikkei edging up 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 0.2 percent.