S&P 500 joins Dow in exiting bear market as Sanders suspends presidential campaign

U.S. equity markets surged Wednesday with the S&P 500 exiting its bear market as Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign. Stocks also saw support from a surge in oil prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained over 779 points, or 3.4 percent, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose by 3.4 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

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Sanders, I-Vt., suspending his campaign leaves former Vice President Joe Biden as the likely nominee to take on President Trump in the November election. It also opens the door for several females to potentially become Biden's running mate, as reported by FOX Business' Charlie Gasparino who lists Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris as front runners.

Another supporting factor for equities was oil. West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 6.18 percent to $25.09 a barrel ahead of Thursday’s key meeting between OPEC and its allies. S&P energy stocks gained nearly 7 percent helping lift the broader index.

Additionally, FOX Business reported the IRS is speeding up printing of stimulus checks which could be delivered as soon as next week, earlier than the Treasury Department's April 17 initial date.

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The major averages had posted smaller gains earlier Wednesday amid optimism that hospitalizations related to the COVID-19 pandemic are beginning to plateau in some of the hardest-hit areas of the country. President Trump on Tuesday evening said parts of the economy could be opened in the not too distant future.

Carnival Cruise Line rallied for a third day after Saudi Arabia’s investment fund announced on Monday it had taken an 8 percent stake in the heavily beaten-down cruise operator.

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Electric-car maker Tesla furloughed all non-essential employees and cut pay through the end of the second quarter, according to a Reuters report that cited a company email.

Retailers Party City and Dick’s Sporting Goods announced they would be furloughing workers.

On the earnings front, blue jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co. reported better-than-expected top- and bottom-line results and withdrew its 2020 guidance due to uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

Social-media company Pinterest soared after reporting preliminary results and withdrawing its 2020 guidance. Pinterest will release its final results on May 5.

U.S. Treasurys slipped, running the yield on the 10-year note to 0.762 percent and gold was little changed at near $1,665 an ounce.

In Europe, France’s CAC slipped 0.1 percent, Britain’s FTSE slid 0.47 percent and Germany’s DAX shed 0.23 percent.

Asian markets were mixed, as Japan’s Nikkei gained 2.13 percent in response to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s $1 trillion stimulus package. China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.19 percent and 1.17 percent, respectively.

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