US stocks jump ahead of major earnings, economic data

Wall Street stocks finished solidly higher on Monday on optimism about steps to reopen the economy in the first session of a heavy week of earnings and economic news.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.5 percent to end the day at 24,133.78.

The broad-based S&P 500 also rose 1.5 percent to 2,878.48, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.1 percent to finish at 8,730.16.

Several governments in Europe eased restrictions as coronavirus cases have stabilized, and more US states have either resumed some activities or set timeframes for doing so.

Still, plenty of commentators are skeptical that the rally can continue.

"Ultimately the stock market is in a mode of blocking out bad news right now and is squeezing the 'worst is behind us' narrative for all it is worth," analyst Patrick O'Hare said, warning that the market had become "divorced from fundamental reality."

Investors will receive plenty of concrete data in the coming days, with fresh consumer confidence and new weekly figures jobless benefits, as well as the report on first-quarter economic growth and a Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting.

It is also a busy week for earnings. Among the corporate giants reporting results: Amazon, Boeing, Pfizer, American Airlines and Exxon Mobil.

Companies in the S&P 500 are on track to suffer a 15.8 percent drop in first-quarter profits, according to Factset, making it the worst year-over-year decline since 2009.