Stock Market Rises For A Change

Mar 19, 2020
Originally published on March 19, 2020 3:14 pm

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

U.S. stock indexes finished up Thursday as investors tried to absorb the latest financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded, rising 188 points — about 1% — to 20,087. The S&P 500 index gained nearly 0.5% and the Nasdaq surged 2.3%.

Those gains followed Wednesday's stock market fall, when the Dow plunged 6.3% and the S&P 500 lost more than 5%.

The Federal Reserve announced a new lending facility to help ease the flow of credit and ensure that the nearly $4 trillion money market industry can weather sudden redemptions.

New claims for unemployment benefits climbed by 70,000 to 281,000 last week as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses and left people out of work, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the highest level since Sept. 2, 2017, when they totaled 299,000.

The claims numbers are expected to jump even more this week as several states reported that their unemployment claims websites had crashed with so many people trying to file at the same time.

Ford — which along with General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are shutting their North American plants for the rest of the month — announced that it was suspending its dividend and giving customers more time to pay for their cars.

The European Central Bank launched an emergency stimulus program, worth more than $800 billion. The Bank of England cut its key interest rate to a record low 0.1%.

In the U.S., the Trump administration is proposing a $1 trillion stimulus, with up to half of that in the form of direct cash payments to Americans.

But economists say it may not help the economy directly since many people are being told to stay at home to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

"The public health measures are going to hurt the economy quite a lot in the short run, Jason Furman, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, told Weekend Edition Sunday. "Our economic policy, though, should be aiming to cushion the blow as much as possible."

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