S&P 500 up on virus hopes, on pace for best month since ‘74

Stocks charged higher around the world Wednesday following an encouraging report on a possible treatment for COVID-19. The S&P 500 rose 2.5% in midday trading, and stocks in Europe also jumped immediately after Gilead Sciences said its experimental drug proved effective against the new coronavirus in a major U.S. government study that put it to a strict test. The news hit markets at the same moment a report showed the U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8% annual rate in the first three months of the year, the worst showing since the financial crisis in 2008. The Federal Reserve releases a statement later Wednesday on interest rate policy.