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Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

It's one of the biggest and fastest stock market rallies in living memory. In the 12 trading sessions since its low point on March 23, the S&P 500 has rallied by 25%, with its component companies increasing in value by more than $4.4 trillion.

The state of play: The tech-heavy Nasdaq index is now higher than it was a mere 6 months ago: If you bought it at the beginning of October, you'd be sitting on a profit right now.

The intrigue: Any move of this magnitude naturally elicits the question "why?" I spoke to NYU professor (and my ex-boss) Nouriel Roubini to answer that question and came away with 6 main reasons for the rebound:

  1. Technical. At the market peak, a lot of investors had leveraged long positions. They faced huge margin calls as the market fell, which forced them to dump even their safest assets at discounted fire-sale prices. When the forced sales ended, fears of a major financial crisis receded, and prices bounced back up.
  2. Epidemiological. The rate of hospitalizations and deaths is no longer growing exponentially, and in many parts of Europe and in the U.S. seems to have plateaued or even started falling. New York's status in particular, while terrible, is not as bad as forecasted.
  3. Fiscal. Trillions of dollars of government money are flooding global economies, and investors expect some significant part of that money to find its way into the markets, or at least help to support corporate revenues.
  4. Monetary. The Fed is pumping unprecedented amounts of liquidity into the bond markets, depressing yields and causing a search for higher returns in the stock market.
  5. Tactical. Stock market indices are capitalization-weighted, with the biggest companies having the greatest weight. Those firms are also generally the companies with the strongest balance sheets — the ones best placed to weather this storm. If the crisis wipes out their competitors, very large companies could be some of the biggest winners from the crisis.
  6. Fundamental. Some investors are betting on a V-shaped recovery, with corporate earnings quickly rebounding to their pre-crisis levels.

Why it matters: The rise in stock prices does not mean that we've even reached the end of the beginning of the crisis. But if the market does shed these gains and start hitting new lows, there's a good chance it will do so slowly, rather than dramatically.

Go deeper

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.