Wall Street adds to its gains, but tech stocks lag.
Wall Street climbed for a second day on Wednesday as investors kept their focus on the prospect of economic recovery.
The S&P 500 rose 1.5 percent — after swinging between gains and losses earlier in the day as weakness in large technology stocks offset gains in other parts of the market. The S&P 500 had climbed 1.2 percent on Tuesday.
Trading on Wednesday reflected optimism about a return to normal as states and national governments lift stay-at-home restrictions. Companies that will benefit as shoppers are allowed back in stores and people begin to travel again were among the best performers in the S&P 500. Nordstrom, Gap and Kohl’s each rose more than 14 percent.
Though stocks have continued their rebound from late-March lows, the rally has become less steady than it was earlier, with the S&P 500 alternating between gains and losses, as expectations for an eventual recovery from the coronavirus pandemic have squared off against the reality that the damage is still severe and likely to continue for some time.
On Wednesday, investors were cheered by the news of fiscal stimulus proposals from the European Union and Japan. In Japan, the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved more than a trillion dollars in stimulus money. In Brussels, the European Commission seemed on the verge of introducing expansive financial measures to support the bloc. Shares in Europe mostly ended higher.
But uncertainty continued over U.S.-China relations. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that the State Department no longer considered Hong Kong to have significant autonomy under Chinese rule, a move that indicated that the Trump administration was likely to end some or all of the United States government’s special trade and economic relations with the territory in southern China.
The staggering unemployment figures — devastating as they are — do not fully capture the degree to which the coronavirus has disrupted professional life across the country.
Since March, when the crisis began to shut businesses en masse, a generation of professionals has seen careers enter a state of suspended animation. Hiring has dried up, advancement has ceased, job searches have been put on hold and new ventures are in jeopardy. As a result, even well-connected high earners are suddenly in unfamiliar territory.
“There is deep uncertainty,” said Alisa Cohn, an executive coach who works with companies including Google and Pfizer. “We’re not just in a holding pattern. We’re on our way somewhere new, but we don’t know what it looks like.”
In March, Hasti Nazem, 35, left a start-up she helped found. Two months later, the job market has imploded, promising leads have dried up, and she is stuck in limbo. She is mining her network for introductions, but…