US stocks rise again as volatility ebbs

US stocks finished sharply higher for a second straight day Tuesday.

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks won solid gains for a second straight session on Tuesday (Feb 2) on optimism over more US fiscal stimulus and receding unease over last week’s buying frenzy.

Shares of GameStop ended sharply lower for a second consecutive day, joined this time by AMC Entertainment, another beneficiary of last week’s social media-fueled onslaught.

There is “relief that, at least for the time being, that the raid on short sellers has been thwarted,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

Investors also have been encouraged by some improving trends on Covid-19 and by President Joe Biden’s focus on coronavirus economic relief, as he pushes Congress to approve a US$1.9 trillion (US2.5 trillion) plan.

Biden “will have a package some time mid-March delivered to the economy,” even if it “may be smaller than what he wants,” Krosby said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished with a gain of 1.6 per cent at 30,687.54.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.4 per cent to close at 3,826.26, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.6 per cent to 13,612.78.

Among individual companies, Exxon Mobil gained 1.6 per cent as it announced new cost-cutting measures even as it reported huge losses in the fourth quarter and for all of 2020. The oil giant suffered a 2020 loss of US$22.4 billion, after posting a profit of US$14.3 billion in 2019.

UPS jumped 2.7 per cent as it reported a 21 per cent increase in fourth-quarter revenues to US$24.9 billion on surging e-commerce growth.