Wall Street soars after Federal Reserve announces new $2.3 trillion emergency plan
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged by 300 points at the opening bell on Thursday, after the Federal Reserve announced $2.3 trillion in emergency programs to shore up the economy.
The S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq also opened higher on Thursday, with gains of around 1 percent each.
The news came as weekly data from the Department of Labor showed another 6.6 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits, bringing the jobless total to more than 16 million in the past three weeks, or 10 percent of the nation’s workforce.
Thursday’s figure was at the high end of analyst estimates, which ranged from 4.5 million to 7 million.
”The massive number of suddenly unemployed and furloughed Americans speaks to the urgency of our economic predicament, and the Federal Reserve is again responding in an equally massive way,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate. “Desperate times call for desperate measures and the Federal Reserve is throwing out all the stops.”
The slew of economic news comes as the White House more closely considers the timeline for reopening the millions of stores and businesses that have been shuttered since the pandemic took hold.
“It would be nice to open with a big bang,” President Donald Trump said Wednesday at a coronavirus task force news briefing, though he said he supported reopening the economy in phases, based on advice from health officials to hold off until the U.S. is “on the down side of the slope.”
Market observers will be listening closely to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who is scheduled to deliver a speech at the Brookings Institution at 10 a.m. ET on the Fed’s response to the coronavirus crisis.
Thursday is the last trading day this week, as markets are closed Friday due to the holidays.