Stocks rose for the third straight day on Thursday to recover 20 percent of losses since reaching record highs in early March, buoyed by Senate approval of a $2 trillion economic aid package to counteract the effects of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished Thursday at 22,552.17 points, up 6.4 percent throughout the day. The S&P 500 climbed 6.2 percent to 2,630.07, and the Nasdaq 5.6 percent to 7,797.54, with both indexes still far from leaving a bear market.
Several companies that were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic have recorded gains over the week, including Boeing with a rise of 90 percent, American Airlines with a rise of 50 percent, and Carnival Corporation, which rose by close to 50 percent.
Companies recorded gains despite record-breaking unemployment claims of 3.28 million reported for last week. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell indicated Thursday that the U.S. may be in an economic recession, but not for reasons stemming from the economy itself.
“We may well be in a recession,” Powell told NBC. “But I would point to the difference between this and a normal recession. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with our economy. Quite the contrary. We are starting from a very strong position.”
The coronavirus pandemic has led numerous state governments to close schools and businesses where large numbers of people congregate including theaters, restaurants, and gyms. President Trump has expressed his wish that some sectors of the economy would open up by Easter (April 12), although it is not clear yet if coronavirus outbreaks across the U.S. will be contained.