The major averages closed higher to end their best week in months as President Donald Trump signaled support for a bigger coronavirus aid package. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 161 points or 0.6%, at 28,586. The S&P 500 gained climbed 0.9% to 3,477. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.4% to close at 11,579.
Microsoft and Salesforce led the Dow higher, rising 2.5% and 2.2%, respectively. Consumer discretionary and tech were the best-performing S&P 500 sectors, advancing more than 1% each.
For the week, the Dow jumped 3.3% and posted its biggest one-week gain since August. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were up 3.8% and 4.6%, respectively, for the week. Both benchmarks had their best weekly performance since early July.
CNBC's Ylan Mui reported the administration has raised its offer for a new aid package to $1.8 trillion from $1.6 trillion. However, Trump later told radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh that he "would like to see a bigger stimulus package frankly than either the Democrats or Republicans are offering."
To be sure, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it is "unlikely" that a new aid package would be passed in the three weeks prior to the Nov. 3 election.
Trump's comments came a day after the administration and Democrats sent mixed messages regarding future aid.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters on Thursday she would not back aid to U.S. airlines without a broader stimulus package, something Trump hinted earlier in the week he'd support. Meanwhile, Trump told Fox Business on Thursday morning that the administration and Democrats were "starting to have some very productive talks."
Sector leaders today included consumer discretionary and information technology amid solid gains in the mega-caps and semiconductor stocks. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index rose 1.8%. The energy, real estate and utilities sectors closed lower.
Within the semiconductor space, Xilinx rose 14% on reports the company is in talks to be acquired by AMD. NXP Semi rose nearly 5% after raising third quarter revenue guidance. Teradyne jumped 4% on an upgrade.
Separately, Gilead Sciences was modestly higher on news their remdesivir drug shortened the recovery time of COVID-19 patients by five days and significantly reduced death rates. The news strengthened the market's optimism surrounding coronavirus treatments and their potential impact on consumer sentiment.
U.S. Treasured ended the session on a lower note. The 2-yr yield increased three basis points to 0.16%, and the 10-yr yield increased one basis points to 0.78%. The U.S. Dollar Index fell 0.6% to 93.06. WTI crude futures fell 1.3%, or $0.54, to $40.64/bbl.
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