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Stock market news live: Dow posts second straight day of gains for the first time in more than a month

·9 min read
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Stocks staged a rally on Wednesday, extending the previous day’s surge with the Dow boosted by gains from components like Boeing and Nike, and after Washington announced a final deal on a $2 trillion stimulus package designed to combat effects of the coronavirus.

When all was said and done, the Dow ended 2.39%, or 495 points, higher. At session highs earlier, the index had been up as many as 1,315 points.

[Click here to read what’s moving markets Thursday, March 26]

The Senate deal includes $1,200 checks to be sent to many Americans. It also reportedly includes $367 billion for small business, $50 billion specifically for passenger airlines, $8 billion for cargo airlines, and $17 billion “for firms that are deemed important to national security.”

The full text of the bill had not been released as of market close. The Senate had previously been expected to vote on the bill later Wednesday, before sending it to the House of Representatives and then to President Donald Trump.

Here's how long its taken stocks to go from record peaks to a correction.
Here's how long its taken stocks to go from record peaks to a correction.

However, late in the afternoon, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders suggested he would be willing to hold up the bill amid a dispute with other lawmakers over unemployment benefits.

Sanders’s announcement came after several Republican senators earlier in the day objected to aspects of the bill they said could incentivize employers to lay off workers, since they believed the legislation could hypothetically give some workers greater pay in unemployment than their previous wages had provided.

Stocks pared gains heading into the close as the dispute remained ongoing.

The damage — both economic and political — from COVID-19 has stoked a widening debate over how quickly the U.S. can return to a semblance of normalcy. With his re-election chances likely to be defined by a recovery from the crisis, President Donald Trump on Tuesday called for the economy to be restarted by April 12 — but market analysts have their doubts about that timetable.

4:04 p.m. ET: S&P 500, Dow end higher for a second straight day of gains, but pare advances heading into the close

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:04 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +28.23 (+1.15%) to 2,475.56

  • Dow (^DJI): +495.64 (+2.39%) to 21,200.55

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -33.56 (-0.45%) to 7,384.29

  • Gold (GC=F): -$18.60 (-1.12%) to $1,642.20 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +4.2 bps to yield 0.8580%

3:56 p.m. ET: Stocks pare gains after Senator Bernie Sanders suggests he may delay stimulus package passage

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said in a Twitter post Wednesday afternoon that he was “prepared to put a hold on” the Senate’s $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill “until stronger conditions are imposed on the $500 billion corporate welfare fund.”

1:08 p.m. ET: Stocks rise, Dow jumps 1000+ points

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 1:08 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +86.67 points (+3.54%) to 2,534.00

  • Dow (^DJI): +1,076.11 points (+5.2%) to 21,781.02

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +152 points (+2.07%) to 7,571.47

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.52 (+2.17%) to $24.53 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$25.50 (-1.54%) to $1,635.30 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -0.2 bps to yield 0.816%

11:46 a.m. ET: Apple shares rise after Deutsche Bank upgrades stock to Buy

Shares of Apple (AAPL) were higher Wednesday morning after Deutsche Bank analysts including Jeriel Ong upgraded the stock to Buy from Hold, citing a more attractive valuation after the recent market pullback.

“We are upgrading AAPL to a Buy rating in light of the recent market correction. AAPL has long been a quality company that we've admired but have felt the recent valuation run was too rich for us from a risk-reward standpoint,” Ong wrote in a note.

“With the recent correction so far, we feel comfortable that investors will return to 4 drivers of the stock (iPhone, AirPods, Services, and GM mix shift) when the market stabilizes,” Ong added. “While there are risks (retail closures, supply chain/timing disruptions, overall macro impacts to purchasing), we believe they are more near-term than long-term in nature.”

Shares of Apple have tumbled 16% for the year to date through Tuesday, outperforming against the S&P 500’s 24% decline.

10:34 a.m. ET: Markets struggle for direction

Stocks’ earlier gains quickly lost steam as investors weighed the ongoing coronavirus outbreak against the Senate and White House’s agreement to pass a $2 trillion fiscal package to help juice the virus-stricken economy.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were each slightly negative about an hour into the regular session. The Dow held onto gains of more than 100 points, as Boeing and Nike held solidly in positive territory.

While a more muted session after Tuesday’s historic surge, stocks’ choppy price action Wednesday was in line with recent unpredictability in developments with the coronavirus.

“In the past, moves like this—a big up day in the midst of a volatile market sell-off—have often been followed by near-term pullbacks or reversals. But investors shouldn’t be discouraged if the market does give back some or all of Tuesday’s move, since the fact remains that these moves have often been indicative of the extreme volatility that sometimes forms as the market is approaching a bearish extreme,” Rick Swope, senior director of investor education at E-Trade, wrote in an email.

“This market still faces challenges from the coronavirus and its economic fallout, so there are bound to be false starts, retracements, and tests,” he added.

9:34 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher

Stocks were slightly higher across the three major indices as investors awaited the passage of a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill from Congress.

Sustained advances in shares of Nike and Boeing led the Dow higher, with the latter up more than 18%.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 9:34 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +20.95 points (+0.86%) to 2,468.28

  • Dow (^DJI): +413 points (+2.00%) to 21,118.32

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +91.59 points (+1.22%) to 7,508.52

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.05 (-2.33%) to $23.45 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$16.30 (0.98%) to $1,644.5 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.1 bps to yield 0.829%

8:30 a.m. ET: Durable goods orders rose in February ahead of coronavirus outbreak escalation

Durable goods orders unexpectedly jumped 1.2% in February ahead of an escalation of the coronavirus outbreak, the Census Bureau said Wednesday in its preliminary monthly report.

Consensus economists had expected orders for durable goods, or manufacturing products intended to last three years or more, would fall 0.9% in February, according to Bloomberg data.

Transportation equipment drove the increase with a 4.6% jump in February. Excluding transportation orders, durable goods orders dropped 0.6%, or steeper than the 0.4% drop expected of this measure.

Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a proxy for business spending, dropped 0.8% in February, more than the 0.4% drop expected. This measure of capital goods orders had risen 1% in January.

7:20 a.m. ET: Stock futures erase earlier gains

Contracts on the three major indices hugged the flatline Wednesday morning as gains made after the White House and Senate said they reached a stimulus bill quickly faded away.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:20 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 2,425.00 down 13 points or 0.53%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 20,730.00, up 112 points or 0.54%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 7,531.25, down 23.50 points or 0.31%

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.40 (-1.67%) to $23.61 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$16.20 (-0.98%) to $1,644.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.9 bps to yield 0.837%

7:00 a.m. ET: Mortgage applications slumped by most since 2009 last week as outbreak undercuts home-buying

Weekly home-buying and home refinancing loan applications tumbled 29.4% for the week ending March 20, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly survey. This marked the largest drop since 2009, and accelerated declines after the prior week’s 8.4% drop.

Applications for home purchases fell 15% to the lowest level since August, and refinancing applications sank 34%.

States hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak showed sharp drop-offs in home purchase applications, MBA data showed. California’s applications plunged 23% following a 3% rise last week, and New York’s applications fell 35% after a 24% drop the prior week. Washington state saw a 17% drop in purchase applications, extending declines of 3% for the prior week.

“Home purchase applications were notably impacted by rising rates and the widespread economic disruption and uncertainty over household employment and incomes,” Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement.

4:20 a.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures rally

Futures rallied after the White House and the Senate announced that they reached a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus bill.

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 2,457.75, up 19.75 points or 0.8%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 20,996.00, up 388.00 points or 0.8%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 7,612.25, up 57.50 points or 1.9%

6:02 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures ease

Futures for each of the three major indices dipped Tuesday evening as investors awaited news of a completed stimulus bill in the face of the escalating domestic coronavirus outbreak.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:02 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): down 3.50 points to 2,434.50

  • Dow futures (YM=F): up 10 points to 20,618.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): down 27.75 points to 7,531.00

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