Wall Street jumps on hopes of US$2 trillion stimulus

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The prior bull market was the longest-running in the history of USA stocks and ended in the swiftest ever decline into bear market territory as the coronavirus pandemic shut down large segments of the US economy.

The CBOE volatility index .VIX fell 2.9 points, but was still near levels far above those in 2018 and 2019. The S&P 500 futures rallied 59.12 points, or 2.42% to 2,497.12 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a gain of 197.63 points, or 2.62% to 7,752.38. This is hardly the movement to expect of a "new" bull market.

Commentators were focused on the initial jobless claims figure.

US initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, were registered at 3,283,000 in the week ending March 21, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week's revised level, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. It will provide checks to more than 150 million American households, launch massive loan programs for businesses, and direct spending to unemployment insurance programs, hospitals, localities and more.

The Senate will vote on the rescue package later on Wednesday and the House of Representatives is expected to follow soon after.

Many airlines also climbed after it became clear that they would receive relief.

S&P 500 measures the performance of 500 widely held common stocks of large-cap US companies.

The benchmark S&P 500 was still almost $8 trillion below its mid February high, and investors expect more violent swings.

In an erratic session US stocks have turned lower in mid-morning trading.

Still, oil prices slid Thursday.

A 'bullet train' of COVID-19 headed for NY , governor warns
Public health officials say the pandemic has killed more than 730 people in the United States and infected more than 53,000. Ford said it would partner with GE Healthcare to a produce hundreds of thousands of ventilators between now and June.

The dollar and global equity markets marched higher on Wednesday and were poised for a second day of gains following a coronavirus-induced selloff, though investors remained concerned about the pandemic's economic impact. USA cases of the virus now surpass 70,000 people, and more than 1,000 have died.

"The real question at hand now is if the current stimulus package is enough to give Americans the support they need".

In a rare interview on NBC's Today on Thursday, the Fed chair said the bank's efforts are focused on helping the economy recover quickly once the threat from the virus has passed. The number is much worse than during the Great Recession of 1982, when it reached 695,000.

Boeing, long a symbol of USA manufacturing strength, remains down by more than 50 percent since mid-February.

"This $2 trillion stimulus package is just round one", said Chris Brightman, chief investment officer at Research Affiliates, which has more than $130 billion under management. "We still have a lot of things that are unknown".

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield retreated to around 0.81%.

US senators will vote Wednesday.

"It's unprecedented and the highest it's been since the metric even began in the '60s", he said.

European markets, however, managed to maintain their positions in green territory despite earlier losses.

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