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Investors buoyed by results of Remdesivir's clinical trial
The U.S. stock market surged 264 points at the close of trading on Friday, partly due to news of the emergence of the promising coronavirus treatment named Remdesivir by Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD).
The Dow rose 705 points, or 3 percent, to 24,242, after trading along or below a ceiling of 24,000 points for five consecutive trading days before news of results of a clinical trial of Remdesivir was reported.
The S&P 500-stock index also rose 2.7 percent and the Nasdaq composite was up 1.4 percent.
The clinical trial, already at its phase 3, reported in medical business publication Stat, showed Remdesivir quickly treating severe COVID-19 patients, with almost all being discharged in less than a week.
Done at the University of Chicago Medicine, the trial involved 125 COVID-19 patients who were given daily infusions of the drug.
Partial results showed that most of the patients were discharged, with two patients dying. The results are part of a larger study done at other institutions.
Shares of Gilead Sciences jumped 9.7 percent after the report of the clinical trial was published, with the company still to release the full results.
Other major pharmaceutical companies involved in a race to develop a COVID-19 solution were Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna. All were said to have achieved promising results.
Other than news of the efficacy of Remdesivir, investors were also buoyed after President Donald Trump released guidelines of the reopening of businesses and in getting people back to work.
Dubbed "Opening Up America Again," Trump's plan lists basic criteria that a state or region should achieve before sending citizens back to work and school.
"The double whammy of U.S. lockdown exit plans and, more importantly, a potential coronavirus treatment from Gilead has given investors cause for optimism heading into the weekend," Erlam, OANDA Europe's senior market analyst, said.