Investors were encouraged by Gilead Sciences’ favorable COVID-19 treatment report and stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings reports, sending stocks higher, plus more in today’s Closing Bell on Money & Markets.

The Top Story

Gilead Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) shares rose 5.7% after the drugmaker said its experimental antiviral treatment remdesivir helped improve symptoms for coronavirus patients who were given the drug early.

“Optimism is growing that remdesivir will get fast track approval, but traders need to exercise some caution as it has yet to be proven safe nor effective in treating COVID-19,” OANDA senior market analyst, Edward Moya, said.

Supporting markets further was Alphabet Inc.’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) 8.9% surge as its quarterly earnings report showed the drop in Google ad sales steadied in April.

Alphabet’s results helped growth stocks such as Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) gain between 2% and 6.2%.

The S&P 500 communication services sector index also jumped 5%.

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) shares jumped 6.1% after the plane-maker said it would cut its workforce by about 10%, reduce 787 Dreamliner production and try to boost liquidity.

Investors shrugged off data that showed the U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter at its sharpest pace since the Great Recession, officially ending the longest expansion in history.

The Dow Jones was up 2.3%. The S&P 500 moved up 2.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 3.5%.

Stock Market Update: Closing Bell*

S&P 500: 2,939 (+2.7%)
DOW: 24,633 (+2.2%)
NASDAQ: 8,914 (+3.6%)
GOLD: $1,729.20 (+0.4%)
BITCOIN: $8,773.91 (+13.3%)
U.S. 10-YEAR YIELD: 0.62% (+0.01)

*- as of 4:25 p.m.

A Big Win

In this morning’s Opening Bell, we told you to keep an eye on Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) as the company posted a deeper-than-expected first-quarter loss of $5 billion. The company said it also burned through $2.2 billion in cash. Shares of Ford sank 2.4%

We also told you to watch Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA). Shares were up 5.7% after it announced a 10% cut of its workforce and reduction in the production of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft, as mentioned above. The measures were taken to bolster Boeing’s liquidity.

Shares of Blue Apron Holdings Inc. (NYSE: APRN) were down more than 25.7% after the company reported a $20.1 million loss for the first quarter.

Golden Nuggets

Precious metal prices were boosted on news of the U.S. gross domestic product shrinking by 4.8% in the first quarter.

Gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,729 an ounce after spending much of the day in the red. Silver futures rose 1.4% to trade at $15.54 an ounce.

Platinum moved 1.8% higher to $809.90 an ounce, while palladium was up 2.3% to $1,922 an ounce.

Cannabis Corner

Two cannabis testing labs in Portland, Maine, were given temporary permits to begin operations, according to Marijuana Business Daily.

The move helps remove a hurdle to starting the state’s recreational cannabis market. Nova Analytic Labs and ProVerde Laboratories were approved by the Portland City Council to receive six-month licenses to test cannabis.

Federal Reserve to Keep Rates Near 0%

A result of this week’s Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve said it would keep its benchmark interest rate target between 0% and 0.25%.

The committee said it would hold rates at that level until full employment returns, and inflation returns to the Fed’s 2% goal.

“The ongoing public health crisis will weigh heavily on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term,” the committee said in its post-meeting statement.

There was no discussion surrounding the current open-ended quantitative easing program where the Fed is purchasing Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities.

Today’s Big Winners:

Norwegian Cruise Line Holding Ltd. (NYSE: NCLH) +25.4%

United Airlines Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: UAL) +12.1%

American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) +9%

Today’s Big Losers:

Hasbro Inc. (Nasdaq: HAS) -6.4%

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (Nasdaq: AMD) -3.3%

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) -3.4%

Check back for the most important news and numbers each day after the Closing Bell, only on Money & Markets