By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com — U.S. stock markets opened with a bang Friday, and stocks continued to trade higher mid-morning to stay on course for their fourth weekly gain in five, amid ever-more frequent anecdotal signs of companies returning to more normal levels of business in the wake of the pandemic.
Stocks were helped by the optimism in the crude oil market, which rose on firming hopes that the global crude market will return to balance soon as demand around the northern hemisphere picks up.
Positive news from the corporate sphere helped the market shrug off lingering signs of trouble with the Covid-19 virus. California, Florida and North Carolina all urged mandatory mask use on Thursday as at least six states set daily records for new coronavirus cases. Ford Motor (NYSE:F) stock rose 1.7% after the carmaker said it will return to full production on Monday, two weeks ahead of schedule.
Among individual stocks, Spotify (NYSE:SPOT) surged 6.2% to a new all-time high on the back of a steady flow of content acquisitions that analysts believe will strengthen its paying subscriber base. Rosenblatt Securities reportedly raised its price target for the streaming company to $275, compared to last night’s close of $225.28.
Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN), another stock beloved of the new army of retail traders, also rose 5.4% after the casino operator said it has now reopened 30 of 41 properties across the country. Airline JetBlue Airways Corp (NASDAQ:JBLU), by contrast, only edged up 0.4% after saying it will start ticket sales on 30 new routes.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stock, meanwhile, ground higher, ignoring the furor over its treatment of political ads, which has included calls by various pressure groups for a boycott of the social media giant.
Elsewhere, Gold Futures were also strong at the end of a week that has seen some big stimulus announcements from the Bank of Japan, European Central Bank and Bank of England. Big emerging markets including Indonesia and, on Friday, Russia, have also cut interest rates sharply this week.
Stocks – Wall Street Higher as Reopening Hopes Strengthen
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