(Reuters) – Wall Street rose for the third time in four days on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve rolled out a massive $2.3 trillion program to bolster local governments and businesses, while energy stocks jumped on an expected cut in oil production.
FILE PHOTO: A man crosses a nearly deserted Nassau Street in front of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the financial district of lower Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., April 3, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar
In what is likely to be its largest rescue effort ever, the Fed said it would work through banks to offer 4-year loans to companies of up to 10,000 employees and directly buy the bonds of states and more populous counties and cities.
“The Federal Reserve and the U.S. government are willing to go to extreme lengths to support the economy and that has been far beyond my expectations,” said Dev Kantesaria, founder portfolio manager of hedge fund Valley Forge Capital Management, Wayne, Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, data showed initial U.S. jobless claims fell slightly last week to 6.6 million from an upwardly revised 6.87 million the week before.
Still, new claims topped 6 million for the second straight week, underscoring the scale of the damage that the health crisis is doing to the U.S. economy.
The S&P 500 has regained about 11% in the holiday-shortened week on early signs of the outbreak hitting a peak and aggressive global stimulus, but it remains about 16% below its record high as lockdown measures hamper business activity.
While public health experts stressed the need to keep people apart to contain the contagion, the restrictions have strangled the economy and sparked widespread production cuts, layoffs and projections of a severe recession.
Energy stocks .SPNY led gains on the S&P 500, rising well over 3%, as a meeting of the world’s biggest oil producers to discuss production cuts got under way. [O/R]
Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), Chevron (CVX.N), Marathon Oil (MRO.N) and Apache Corp (APA.N) rose between 2% and 18% as oil prices gained.
Big banks also rose at least 4%, with the benchmark index set for its biggest weekly percentage rise since 1974 if gains hold through the day.
“A (market) rally doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods just yet nor that volatility is a thing of the past,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*TRADE Financial Corp in New York.
“If there is one thing recent history has shown us, it’s that optimism can wear off quickly if cases climb or stay-at-home orders are extended.”
At 10:35 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 459.89 points, or 1.96%, at 23,893.46, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 48.94 points, or 1.78%, at 2,798.92 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 40.10 points, or 0.50%, at 8,131.00.
Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) fell more than nearly 1% as the coffee chain forecast a 47% drop in second-quarter earnings due to a loss in sales.
Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) jumped 4.1% as the company said its Disney+ streaming service had attracted more than 50 million paid users globally.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 11.78-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 4.19-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 5 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 12 new highs and 6 new lows.
Reporting by Uday Sampath and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Arun Koyyur