• Nasdaq and S&P 500 set new closing highs
  • The coronavirus has now claimed almost 500 lives
  • WHO downplayed reports of scientists finding effective drugs to treat virus

U.S. stocks surged on Wednesday following reports in China and U.K. that scientists have made progress in finding a vaccine for the coronavirus. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 both reached new record highs, while the Dow Jones industral Average just missed setting a new high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 483.09 points to 29,290.72 while the S&P 500 gained 37.12 points to 3,334.71 and the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 40.71 points to 9,508.68.

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange totaled 3.46 billion shares with 2,182 issues advancing, 246 setting new highs, and 759 declining, with 16 setting new lows.

Active movers were led by Ford Motor Co. (F), Snap Inc. (SNAP) and NIO Inc (NIO),

China’s National Health Commission reported Tuesday night that 490 people have died from coronavirus in the country and nearly 25,000 cases have been confirmed.

Reuters reported that a Chinese TV station said a research team at Zhejiang University in Zhejiang, China, had discovered an effective drug to treat coronavirus. Separately, Sky News of U.K. reported Wednesday that a scientist at Imperial College London had made a breakthrough in finding a vaccine for the virus.

However, the World Health Organization downplayed these alleged developments, citing that “there are no known effective therapeutics against” this new virus.

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, U.S. President Donald Trump said that the U.S. is working closely with the Chinese government on the virus outbreak.

“There is still uncertainty around the coronavirus, but this doesn’t seem to be the open-ended risk it was last week,” said Dave Lafferty, chief market strategist at Natixis Investment Managers

“We think the number of new reported cases will be a critical signpost,” said Niall MacLeod, a strategist at UBS.

In economic news, private sector employment in the U.S. increased by 291,000 jobs in January according to ADP National Employment Report. The U.S. trade deficit edged down 1.7% to $617 billion in 2019 from almost $628 billion in 2018, marking the first such decline in six years.

The Institute for Supply Management said on Wednesday that its nonmanufacturing activity index rose 55.5 points in January, the highest such level since August.

Overnight in Asia, markets finished higher. China’s Shanghai Composite gained 1.25%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.42%, and Japan’s Nikkei-225 advanced 1.02%.

In Europe markets closed higher, as Britain’s FTSE-100 rose 0.57%, France’s CAC-40 climbed 0.85% and Germany’s DAX gained 1.48%.

Crude oil futures jumped 2.82% at $51.01 per barrel and Brent crude edged up 0.25% at $55.42. Gold futures climbed 0.37%.

The euro dipped 0.41% at $1.0998 while the pound sterling fell 0.29% at $1.2993.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose 2.87% to 1.649% while yield on the 30-year Treasury gained 2.5% to 2.133%.