Stocks surged sharply on Wednesday as investors gained confidence in official responses to the coronavirus and viewed the results of Super Tuesday’s primary elections as making it less likely the Democratic nomination will go to Bernie Sanders.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 1,145 points, or about 4.4 percent, more than making up for the prior day’s decline. The S&P 500 rose 4.2 percent. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 3.8 percent.
Healthcare stocks were among the best performers, likely boosted by both reports that the White House and lawmakers had reached a deal on spending to fight the coronavirus outbreak and the weaker-than-expected showing by Senator Sanders in Tuesday’s Democratic primaries. Sanders has made ending private health insurance and replacing it with a government program the centerpiece of his campaign.
The S&P’s heath care stocks rose 5.33 percent, making it the best performing segment of the broad market index. UnitedHealth was the best performing Dow stock, rising by nearly 11 percent. Shares of Pfizer, another Dow component, rose 5.6 percent.
Shares of health insurers were up sharply. Humana rose 14.44 percent. Centene shares jumped 15.6 percent. Cigna shares climbed 10.7 percent. Anthem shares moved 15.6 percent higher.
The stock market gains were broad. All 11 sectors of the S&P advanced by at least two percent. Every company in the Dow moved higher.
Congress reached an agreement on Wednesday to provide nearly $8 billion in funding to fight the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.