May 26, 2020 / 7:57 AM / 2 months ago

S&P 500 futures surge on recovery, vaccine hopes

(Reuters) - U.S. stock futures surged on Tuesday as business restarts and optimism about a potential coronavirus vaccine helped investors returning from a long weekend to overlook Sino-U.S. tensions.

FILE PHOTO: A nearly empty trading floor is seen as preparations are made for the return to trading at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

U.S. biotech group Novavax Inc (NVAX.O) jumped 21% in premarket trading as it joined the race to test coronavirus vaccine candidates on humans and enrolled its first participants.

Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) advanced 3.2% as it announced plans to develop two separate vaccines.

Wall Street’s main indexes have risen sharply from March lows, gaining 3% last week, on hopes of an eventual coronavirus antidote and easing of virus-related curbs.

“The markets are focusing more on healthcare related news getting better and the possibility for a vaccine by the end of the year and the potential for increased economic activity as more and mores states reopen,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

California can now reopen in-store retail businesses and places of worship following shutdowns in one of the most restrictive coronavirus containment rules in the United States.

Spain urged foreign holidaymakers to return from July and Britain was looking to reopen thousands of High Street shops and shopping centers next month.

The beaten down travel-related stocks soared with United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL.O), online travel agency Expedia Group Inc (EXPE.O), hotel operator Marriott International Inc (MAR.O) rose between 5.1% and 7%.

Cruise companies Royal Caribbean Corp (RCL.N), Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH.N) and Carnival Corp (CCL.N) rose about 8%.

At 7:36 a.m. ET, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 1.74% to 3,004 points. The futures contract broke through 2,988.38, a 200-day simple moving average, suggesting a strong day ahead for U.S. stocks.

Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 469 points, or 1.92%. and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 148.25 points, or 1.58%.

Later in the day, the Conference Board’s data is expected to show consumer confidence index edged up slightly after hitting a six-year low in April.

Reporting by Medha Singh and Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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