Stocks close out second week of gains on hopes for COVID treatment

Stocks close out second week of gains on hopes for COVID treatment
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Stocks closed out a second week in a row of gains Friday, accelerated by reports of positive trials in a possible COVID-19 drug.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 24,243, up 705 points, or 3 percent. Through the week, the index gained 524 points, or 2.2 percent. The S&P 500 on Friday was up 75 points, or 2.7 percent.

On Thursday, STAT news reported that a trial of the Gilead Sciences drug remdesivir had been promising, though the company warned that official results on a broader array of studies would be necessary.

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Markets remained buoyant even as the health and economic crisis continued.

The U.S. hit a record death toll of 4,591 from the virus on Thursday, and New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNew York City delays plan to restart indoor dining, citing coronavirus outbreaks across the country Watch live: Gov. Cuomo holds press briefing The Hill's Morning Report - Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks MORE said that while hospitalization cases were falling, the state was still struggling with an onslaught of 2,000 new hospitalizations a day.

Forecasters predict that the unemployment rate may reach Depression-era levels that top 20 percent through the recession. China, where the first coronavirus outbreak took place, saw its first quarterly economic contraction in decades as a result of the pandemic and associated lockdowns.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE has pushed for states to reopen their economies as soon as possible, seemed to throw his weight behind demonstrators protesting social distancing measures in some states, calling on Twitter to "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" as well as Virginia and Minnesota.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced plans to begin reopening some businesses in that state.