Wall Street surges on hopes of $2 trillion rescue package

Darnell Taylor
March 24, 2020

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week high and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded four new highs and 61 new lows.

South of the border, USA stocks jumped more than five per cent as Congress appeared close to a deal on an unprecedented spending bill to prop up the slumping economy.

Traders were encouraged by the Fed's promise to buy as many Treasurys and other assets as needed to keep financial markets functioning. The preliminary version of the Jibun Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 44.8 from February's 47.8 on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 show activity contracting. "It is at times like this that the market's propensity to look forward is demonstrated most effectively". Despite the gains, most indexes are down around a third from where they started the year. Rallies almost as big as this have punctuated the last few weeks, and none lasted more than a day.

Zilberman says that in total 23 servicemembers are now known to be sick with the disease, not the 25 that the military reported earlier in the day, as one recovered completely and a second was recently released from the IDF.

The Israeli military is preparing to assist the police enforce a full national lockdown if one is declared to combat the coronavirus pandemic, dedicating eight battalions - over 2,000 soldiers - to the cause, with the potential for more.

Congress debated through the weekend on the rescue plan, but White House officials and congressional leaders are struggling to finalize it. Democrats blocked a vote to advance the package Monday.

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Health authorities, however, warned that it was still too early to confirm a decreasing trend in the ongoing pandemic. Of those infected, 23,783 are in isolation at home, 19,846 are hospitalised and 3,009 are in intensive care, he said.

"It appears that governments are able and, in some cases, willing to do whatever it takes to try and lessen the impact from what will undoubtedly be a severe economic shock", said Andy Scott, associate director at Chatham Financial in London.

Economists are topping each other's dire forecasts for how much the economy will shrink this spring due to the closures of businesses, and a growing number say a recession seems inevitable.

The Dow rose 1,130 points early on Wednesday as USA traders braced for news of an economic rescue package. The Nasdaq, which is dominated by technology companies, lost only 0.3% to 6,860.67 as tech shares held up better than the rest of the market.

The energy sector surged 6.9% as oil prices jumped.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 96 cents to $24.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The euro gained to $1.0795 from $1.0721.

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