Let young people go back to work. Seniors and the immune-deficient should self isolate. It’s not rocket science.
Stocks jumped at the starting bell Thursday, as a record spike in weekly unemployment claims cranked up the heat on Congress to push through a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. Meanwhile, Boeing (BA) and American Express (AXP) led the advance on the Dow Jones today.
Coronavirus stock BioNTech (BNTX) and Quest Diagnostics (DGX) spiked in early trade. Signet Jewelers (SIG), Viomi Technologies (VIOT) and Canadian Solar (CSIQ) all scored double-digit gains on earnings news.
The Nasdaq jumped 2.2%. The S&P 500 advanced 2.6%, and the Dow Jones Industrials struck up a 2.7% gain — up more than 550 points. The Dow and the S&P 500 are each looking to chalk up their third straight advance, as the market’s young rally attempt continues.
Markets across Asia lost ground overnight, particularly in Japan. Europe’s markets traded sharply lower near mid-session, despite the European Central Bank eliminating its ceiling on its bond purchases to fight the economic impact of the coronavirus emergency.
U.S. bonds continued higher, sending the 10-year yield down 8 basis points to 0.79%. Oil prices struggled to turn a five-week nose dive, with West Texas Intermediate up more than 6% for the week, but trading down 3.5% early Thursday to below $24 a barrel.
Gear up for Thursday’s market action by reading IBD’s Investing Action Plan.
Broadcom Leads Nasdaq; Boeing Tops Dow Jones Today
Synchrony Financial (SYF) and Capital One Financial (COF) led the S&P 500 with 13% gain. Boeing ran in front of the Dow Jones today, up 6%, boosted partly by expectations for federal stimulus, in part by short sale investors bailing out of the stock.
Coronavirus Drives Record Unemployment Claims
First-time unemployment claims spiked to 3.28 million during the week ended March 21, the Labor Department reported, as workers idled by coronavirus lockdowns filed for support. That was nearly 12 times the 281,000 claims filed in the prior week, and more than triple the 1 million claims expected by analysts.
The first indication of how dire the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak may be, the report was the department’s highest unemployment claims tally on record, topping a week of 695,000 claims filed in October 1982.
Earnings News: Micron Technologies Tops Views
Micron Technologies (MU) sailed 5% higher after reporting above-forecast fiscal second-quarter results late Wednesday. The memory-chip maker guided higher for the current quarter, despite the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic.
Micron stock remains about 30% off its 52-week high despite the sharp rally in recent sessions. Its RS line is making a new highs. The relative strength line measures a stock’s price performance vs. the general market. It is the blue line displayed on every IBD daily and weekly chart.
Coronavirus Stimulus Package Goes To House
In an unusual, unanimous vote late Wednesday, the Senate approved what is estimated to be a $2.2 trillion stimulus package targeting consumers and businesses suffering as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The coronavirus stimulus package rolls out checks to all U.S. individuals earning less than $99,000 per year, with the biggest checks going to those who earn less than $75,000.
Airlines, cruise lines, small businesses, the U.S. Postal Service, educational debt holders are all beneficiaries. Unemployment insurance will receive a $260 billion boost, hospitals will get $180 billion, and local governments receive $175 billion.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, where a vote on the measure is scheduled for Friday morning. If approved, the legislation would then go to the White House, where President Trump said he intends to sign it immediately.
Coronavirus Outbreak: Europe Eyes Coronabonds
Worldwide, almost 54,000 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed from Wednesday to Thursday, lifting the total of infected persons to 479,840, according to the Worldometer coronavirus site. More than 2,600 persons died of the disease in those 24 hours, putting the death toll at 21,577.
The virus is most deadly in Italy, where another 683 persons died overnight lifting the toll there to 7,503. The country reports confirmed cases rose by more than 5,200 on the day, to 74,386.
Italy’s economy, the third largest in Europe, was teetering and considered a eurozone “peripheral” economy before the healthcare crisis. Italy has the highest level of public debt among eurozone countries, and its core industrial sector has been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
Cases and deaths also ramped higher across Europe, leaving Italy, Germany, France and Spain with more than 188,000 confirmed cases, three times that of the U.S. The countries’ combined populations are a bit less than 80% of the U.S., and now represent just over 39% of the confirmed cases, worldwide.
European leaders plan a video conference today, with a group of nine eurozone members pushing for the eurozone to issue “coronabonds” as a means of propping up its hard hit economies.
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