A man wearing a mask walks by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 17, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City.

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

The Nasdaq Composite turned positive for the year during Thursday’s session as optimism about the reopening of the U.S. economy sparked a broad market rally. Energy and financials, as well as industrials stocks like Boeing and the airlines, led the Dow and S&P 500 higher as investors snapped up equities on hopes America could be back to work before long.

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11:00 am: Coronavirus recession most similar to 2001, RayJay strategist says

Raymond James strategist Tavis McCourt says this U.S. recession, which has been sparked by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown of the economy, is most similar to the one experienced in 2001. “Both entered at reasonably expensive P/Es, and both featured an exogenous impact to EPS, and in both cases markets rallied meaningfully following fiscal/monetary stimulus after the initial drop,” McCourt wrote in a note. “We note the 2001 equity market faded meaningfully in 2002 as what had previously been an expectation of a “V” shape recovery (+20% growth in 2002) became a “U” shape recovery with EPS flat in 2002 vs. 2001.” — ImbertBloom

10:50 am: Beyond Meat could grow into a mega-cap stock, Cramer says

Jim Cramer continued to praise Beyond Meat on Thursday’s “Squawk on the Street,” saying that the pandemic should accelerate the shift to plant-based meat and that the company had the potential to grow into one of the biggest in the world. Beyond Meat is fairly small right now, Cramer noted, but, “so was Amazon, so was Facebook, so was Alphabet.” —Pound

10:20 am: Indexes rally as energy and financials lead; EOG Resources, Citizens Financial both up 5%

Energy and financials stock led the S&P 500 and Dow industrials higher in Thursday morning trading as optimism about gradual reopening and a slower pace of jobless claims persuaded some investors that the worst of the Covid-19 economic pullback may have already passed.

Houston-based EOG Resources, which produces crude oil and natural gas, rose 5% on the heels of a bounce in crude based on production cuts and demand beginning to recover. Citizens Financial, a regional bank that generates revenues from consumer and small-business loans, also rallied 5% on prospects U.S. income may be starting to rebound. Big-tech stocks like Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet helped carry the Nasdaq Composite back into positive territory for 2020 after a steep decline in March. Those stocks are all up at least 15% this quarter and are positive for 2020. — Franck

10:13 am: This “impressive” stock is a coronavirus “beneficiary” Bank of America says

Cloud communications platform company Twilio reported earnings on Wednesday after the bell beating results and guidance for the fiscal first-quarter. Bank of America reiterated its buy rating, calling the stock a “top pick” as it continues to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis. “As we had expected TWLO saw revs/usage upside and was a net beneficiary of COVID impact, offsetting weakness from high impact industries travel, hospitality, ridesharing at <10% of revs, in line with our customer survey," the analyst said. Shares of the company are up over 50% this week. — Bloom

9:50 am: Biggest analyst calls of the day: Lyft, General Motors, Ralph Lauren & more

  • Deutsche Bank upgraded General Motors to buy from hold.
  • JPMorgan added T-Mobile to the focus list.
  • HSBC upgraded Tapestry to buy from hold.
  • Piper Sandler downgraded Lyft to neutral from overweight.
  • Cowen downgraded Ralph Lauren to market perform from outperform.
  • Gordon Haskett lowered its price target on General Electric to $5 from $9. — Bloom

9:40 am: Oil surges, on track for best week ever

Oil prices jumped on Thursday, supported by ongoing production cuts as well as the start of a recovery in demand. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, rose $2.24, or 9.3%, to trade at $26.23 per barrel. For the week WTI has gained nearly 33%, putting the contract on track for its best week in history. International benchmark Brent crude traded 6% higher at $31.50. Government data released Wednesday showed that production in the U.S. has declined by more than 1 million barrels per day from the peak in March. Demand for gasoline also rose, although it’s still more than 30% below normal levels. – Stevens

9:40 am: Nasdaq Composite goes positive on the year

With a 1.4% gain at Thursday’s open, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite officially erased its 2020 losses and turned positive on the year. The strength in the benchmark comes from the impressive rally from the biggest U.S. technology firms. Amazon has soared 27% this year, while Netflix and Microsoft gained 34% and 16%. –Li 

9:30 am: Dow jumps 260 points at the open

Stocks opened Thursday’s session with solid gains as investors took the latest unemployment data in stride. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed about 260 points at the open, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained about 1.3% each. –Li 

9:15 am: Zoom shares jump after company announces first acquisition

Zoom shares gained more than 3% during Thursday’s premarket trading after the company said it bought Keybase in an effort to shore up its security operations. The acquisition will add end-to-end encryption for the company’s video calls. Zoom shares have more than doubled this year on the heels of a spike in demand as people began working from home. But the company has also been criticized for privacy and security flaws. On April 1 the company outlined a plan for how it can fix its security issues, and Thursday’s acquisition is part of that plan. – Stevens

9:00 am: The worst of coronavirus crisis is likely past us, Boockvar says

Some investors are taking solace in the fact that the latest jobless claims number marks a decline from previous readings, which could signal that the worst of the coronavirus impact is behind us. “As awful these figures are, it is the least amount of claims since mid March as we’ve likely cycled through the worst of the forced shutdown,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. “We can now start analyzing the pace of reopenings, the level of business and what that new reality will look like.” Despite more than 3 million weekly jobless claims, Dow futures are up 300 points. –Li

8:32 am: Weekly jobless claims total 3.169 million

A total of 3.169 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending May 2, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected jobless claims to rise by 3.05 million. The latest number brought the seven-week tally to more than 33 million as the coronavirus pandemic caused unprecedented job losses. While another bad number, the jobless claims were below the 3.8 million and 4.4 million pace of the prior two weeks and down from the 6.8 million jobs lost at the end of March. Some investors took this to mean that maybe the worst job losses are behind us. — Li

8:15 am: Stifel calls Peloton an “unstoppable juggernaut,” raises price target to $50

Wall Street firm Stifel raised its price target to $50 per share on stay-at-home stock Peloton on Thursday on the back of the fitness companies earnings. Stifel said the target increases is spurred by Peloton’s better-than-expected outlook for the next quarter and “favorable demand dynamics.” Peloton said stay-at-home orders sparked a 66% jump in sales during the quarantine. “This company is an unstoppable juggernaut to be stopped only by way of self-inflicted wound from here,” Stifel’s Scott Devitt told clients. “Peloton is in the early stages of building the world’s first global fitness platform.” Stifel has a buy rating on Peloton’s stock, which is up more than 18% in premarket trading on Thursday. – Fitzgerald

8:01 am: Moderna surges 16% in premarket after FDA approves vaccine phase 2 trial

The Food and Drug Administration has cleared Moderna‘s coronavirus vaccine for a phase 2 trial, sending the biotech shares jumping more than 16% in premarket trading on Thursday. Moderna said the trials will begin shortly with 600 participants, and it is finalizing plans for a phase 3 trial as early as this summer, which would potentially approve the first batch of vaccines as soon as 2021. –Li

7:45 am: Jobless claims expected to rise by 3 million 

Economists polled by Dow Jones expect just over 3 million Americans to have filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending May 2. That would bring the seven-week total to about 33 million as the coronavirus pandemic forces massive layoffs across industries. However, the rate of new jobless claims has been steadily falling in recent weeks. Also, a print of 3 million would be lower than the previous number of 3.84 million. —Imbert

7:42 am: Lyft shares gain 16% after revenue jumps 23% year-over-year

Shares of Lyft rose 16% in premarket trading following the company’s first quarter earnings results. The ride-hailing company lost an adjusted $1.09 per share for the quarter, which was larger than the 63 cents loss analysts had been expecting, but revenue topped estimates and rose 23% year-over-year. The number of active riders increased by 3% year-over-year. Last Friday, the company said it was laying off or furloughing nearly 17% of its workforce in an effort to cut costs. –Stevens

7:36 am: Peloton shares surge after earnings

Peloton shares jumped 20% during Thursday’s premarket trading after the fitness equipment maker’s third quarter results. The company lost 20 cents per share, which was more than the 17 cents loss the Street had been looking for, but revenue beat estimates. Peloton said stay-at-home orders sparked a 66% jump in sales, and the company also raised its sales forecast for the current quarter. For the year the stock is up 21%, while the S&P 500 has shed nearly 12%. –Stevens

7:27 am: Stock futures point to rebound on Wall Street

U.S. stock futures rose sharply, putting Wall Street on track to rebound from Wednesday’s decline, ahead of key unemployment data. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up more than 200 points, or 1.1%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 1.3%. A 9.1% surge in West Texas Intermediate futures helped sentiment in equity futures. Those gains in stock and oil futures came ahead of the Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims report, which is slated for 8:30 a.m. On Wednesday, the Dow and S&P 500 closed lower for the first time in three sessions as investors weighed the possibility of the economy reopening soon. —Imbert

— CNBC’s Maggie Fitzgerald, Thomas Franck, Jesse Pound and Michael Bloom contributed reporting.

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