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Stocks achieved their third days of gains on Thursday, with investors looking past the release of record-breaking initial jobless claims while the Senate passed a massive economic stimulus bill amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Labor Department said unemployment benefit claims soared to 3.28 million last week. Despite this record number, the Dow surged more than 1,300 points at its session high. That brings the 30-stock averages’ three-day gain to about 20%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also rose sharply on Thursday.
This is a live blog. Here’s the latest:
4:21 pm: Thursday’s rally by the numbers
- Dow closed up 6.38% for its 3rd straight daily gain for the first time in more than a month
- Dow closed above 22,000 for the first time since March 13
- This week, the Dow is up 17.62%, on pace for its best week since Jun 26, 1931 when the Dow gained 18.21%
- S&P closed up 6.24% for its 3rd straight positive day in more than a month
- This week, the S&P 500 is up 14.11%, on pace for its best week since Jun 24, 1938 when the S&P gained 15.31%
- Sectors: 11 out of 11 sectors were positive today led by Utilities up 8.39%
- Dollar index is down 1.7% on pace for its 4th straight negative day and its worst day since Jun 3, 2016 when the index lost 1.75%
- This week, the Dollar index is down 3.41% on pace for its worst week since May 22, 2009 when the index lost 3.69% and its first negative week in 3 —Francolla
4:01 pm: Stocks achieve third day of gains, Dow surges 1,300 points
U.S. stocks pulled off their third day of gains on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average soaring 1,322 points or 6.24%. Thursday’s rally brings the Dow’s three-day gain to about 20%, the largest three day stretch since 1931. Boeing led the Dow higher, gaining more than 13%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq gained 6.13% and 5.6%, respectively. Markets shrugged off the dismal jobless claims report and focused in on the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by the Senate. — Fitzgerald
3:31 pm: NYSE chief hopes to reopen trading floor soon
New York Stock Exchange President Stacey Cunningham said Thursday that she hopes to reopen the exchange’s floor soon. The NYSE president said from the Economic Club of New York that “market are functioning well” and resisted arguments that markets should be closed. She added that the exchange is processing some 330 billion messages every day of late without delays and that it will soon have tools available to test for COVID-19. — Franck, Pisani
2:58 pm: Dow rallies again, heads for a 3-day winning streak
With roughly one hour left in the trading session, the Dow was up more than 1,000 points and was poised for a three-day winning streak. The gains come as Senate lawmakers unanimously passed a $2 trillion stimulus package. Investors also shrugged off a record-setting jobless claims number. —Imbert
2:53 pm: Pandemic response will change capitalism in the U.S., McCulley says
The massive programs from the Federal Reserve and the $2 trillion Senate bill will change how Americans view government spending even after the coronavirus threat is contained, former PIMCO economist Paul McCulley said on “Power Lunch.” “We’re seeing that we have a whole lot more capacity as a government to do good things in the interest of we the people, and I think that is going to change the relationship of capitalism to government,” McCulley said.
McCulley said that income inequality is one area where there could soon be more political pressure. “I think that we’re going to be moving toward a progressive agenda on the other side of this act of god with more verve than we would have thought just a few months ago,” he said. — Pound
2:07 pm: NYSE advancers lead decliners 6 to 1
About six stocks traded higher for every decliner at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday as Wall Street saw strong gains for a third straight day. Overall, more than 2,500 stocks were higher while over 400 traded lower. —Imbert
1:48 pm: Italy virus cases accelerate
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Italy rose by more than 6,100 to 80,539 on Thursday. This was nearly 1,000 more cases than were confirmed the day before. Italy was one of the first countries outside of China to see a major outbreak of the virus, and its numbers are closely watched by investors and health officials to see how effective their responses of travel restrictions and lockdowns have been. — Pound, Reuters
1:47 pm: Stocks’ three-day bounce is best since the 1930s
- The Dow is currently up more than 18% over the past 3 sessions, which would be its biggest 3-day gain since Oct. 1931.
- The S&P is up 15% over that same period, on pace for its biggest 3-day gain since Mar. 1933. – Hayes
1:32 pm: Bad news is priced in, but slow economy could hurt stocks, Boockvar said
Bleakley Advisory Group CIO Peter Boockvar said on “The Exchange” that he thinks the stock market has priced in the first wave of bad news from the coronavirus and its economic hit, but a slow recovery could make stocks fall further. “I think the market has reached a bottom. I think all the bad news were going to hear about the virus over the next 4-6 weeks, all the terrible economic data we’re going to see over the next few months, that has been priced in,” Boockvar said. “The next question for the market is what happens after? What happens when we get to the fall and we start to recover.” Boockvar said he does not expect a sharp snap back once the threat of the virus passes. “I think this has been a traumatic experience both on the household level and on business level and that it’s going to be a long time before we can really be comfortable with the rate of growth,” Boockvar said. — Pound
12:39 pm: Stocks at midday: Dow near session highs, up 1,100 points
Stocks were near their session highs in midday trading on Thursday, shrugging off the staggering jobless claims report earlier in the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 1,150 points or 5.4%. This brings the 30-stock averages’ 3-day rally to a gain of about 20%. The S&P 500 rose 4.75% and the Nasdaq Composite rose nearly 4%. — Fitzgerald
12:04 pm: Boeing soars another 15%
Shares of Boeing jumped another 15%, bringing its gains this week to a whopping 92%. The U.S. planemaker soared 24% on Wednesday, turning in its best day ever back to its IPO in 1962. The shares got a boost from a pending $2 trillion stimulus bill that should prove to be a relief for the embattled aerospace industry. — Li
11:41 am: Barclays says claims data could be signaling supply chain disruptions
The largest numbers of jobless claims for last week were filed in industrial states, led by Pennsylvania, and that could signal declines in manufacturing employment. The economists point out that Pennsylvania claims were up nearly 400,000; Ohio up 213,000; New Jersey up 179,000 and Michigan up 175,000. “Although the rise in these states clearly reflects containment measures in these jurisdictions, it also might also reflect the impact of supply chain disruptions – from both domestic sources and abroad – on manufacturing,” the economists wrote. The economists noted that unemployment claims were up 142,000 in the ‘hot spot ‘state of California; 134000 in Washington and 82,000 in New York. — Fitzgerald
11:31 am: Stocks accelerate gains, Dow up 1,000
Stocks added to their gains in midday trading with the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumping 1,000 points, or 4.8%. The S&P 500 rose 4.4% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 3.8%. — Fitzgerald
11:26 am: Analysts continue to upgrade stocks on market rebound, including Intel, Micron, Goldman Sachs & more
- Bank of America upgraded Micron to buy from underperform.
- Berenberg upgraded Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo to hold from sell.
- Bernstein upgraded Intel to market perform from underperform.
- Goldman Sachs downgraded Beyond Meat to sell from neutral.
- Atlantic Equities initiated Walmart as overweight.
- KeyBanc initiated DuPont as overweight.
- Argus upgraded Procter & Gamble to buy from hold. — Bloom
11:11 am: SEC halts trading for Zoom Technologies because people think it’s the red hot Zoom video company
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday it would halt the trading of Zoom Technologies (ZOOM), as investors poured into the stock at rapid levels mistaking it for video conferencing company Zoom Video (ZM) which has seen business boom because of coronavirus lockdowns. The SEC is suspending trading for Zoom Technologies from Thursday until April 8 due to “concerns about the adequacy and accuracy of publicly available information.” Zoom Technologies stock is up more than 50% this month and nearly 900% this year. – Fitzgerald
10:55 am: Markets may weaken with future economic data, strategist says
Matt Miskin, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management, said equity markets could struggle in future weeks as the economic data continues to worsen. “The economic data is likely to get worse before it gets better. The initial jobless claims this morning — 3 million was never seen, historic in nature. The thing is, given the number of claims, some may not even have gotten logged in time for this,” Miskin said.
Once investors begin to look to 2021, stocks could rise rapidly, Miskin said. “If it goes down in an elevator, it certainly can come back in an elevator, too,” he said. — Pound
10:22 am: Stocks head for third straight day of gains
The S&P 500 rose nearly 3% in trading in Thursday as it headed for its third consecutive day of gains. U.S. stocks have been exceptionally volatile during the coronavirus crisis, with recent swings hitting records not seen since the 1930s. – Sheetz
9:53 am: Tudor Jones says this is the biggest fiscal monetary ‘bazooka’ ever and more like a ‘nuclear bomb’
Hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones said Thursday investors should commend Washington’s policy response to the economic shock from the coronavirus pandemic. “Investors can take heart that we’ve counteracted this existential shock with the greatest fiscal, monetary bazooka. It’s not even a bazooka. It’s more like a nuclear bomb,” Jones said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” Jones said the actions from the Federal Reserve and Congress have brought “safety” to the economic system, even as COVID-19 continues to spread across the U.S. and disrupt daily life. “We did in two weeks what it took the Fed eight months to do in 2009,” Jones said. “Remember, we didn’t even get quantitative easing until well after the great financial crisis had started, well into the recession.” — Stankiewicz
9:32 am: Stocks open in the green despite historic jobless claims, Dow up 400 points
Stocks opened in positive territory on Thursday despite a stunning jobless claims number, showing more than 3 million Americans are out of a job thanks to the coronavirus shutdown. This is the third day that stocks have rallied. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 460 points at the open. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose 1.5% and 1.6%, respectively. – Fitzgerald
9:27 am: Mnuchin says coronavirus stimulus checks will come within three weeks
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that people will start getting relief checks within three weeks, as the country reels from the coronavirus pandemic. Mnuchin spoke to CNBC the morning after the Senate passed a $2 trillion stimulus package intended to blunt economic damage from the spread of the coronavirus. The House is expected to vote on the legislation Friday. — Kevin Breuninger
9:13 am: Hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones sees market up as soon as June
Longtime hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones told CNBC on Thursday that even though the market could be set for a rocky April as U.S. COVID-19 cases peak, stocks could be above current levels as soon as June. The billionaire investor said “we’ll be challenged in April,” as the market digests a peak level of coronavirus cases. “I think that could bring us to a retest, it might even bring us to a fractional new low. But I do think the stock market’s going to find a bottom,” he continued. “My guess is we’ll be higher three or four months from now, five months from now, than lower than where we are right now.” — Franck
9:08 am: Stock futures go positive
Following the historic jobless claims, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures flipped into positive territory. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also pointed to modest gains at the open. — Fitzgerald
8:55 am: Treasury yields hold steady despite record jobless claims
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was lower at about 0.79% while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was also down at 1.35%. However, the rates only fluctuated around these levels after the record-breaking number of jobless claims. The Labor Department said Thursday a total of 3.28 million Americans displaced by the coronavirus crisis filed unemployment claims. While the massive number underscored the outbreak’s devastating toll on the economy, it came smaller than some of the estimates on Wall Street. Citigroup said it sees a figure closer to 4 million, for example. —Li
8:48 am: Stock futures cut losses despite historic jobless claims
Stock futures cut earlier losses on Thursday even after the release of initial jobless claims data gave investors a look at the employment impact the coronavirus is having on the country. Dow futures indicated a drop of more than 100 points at Thursday’s open. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures pointed to opening losses of about 0.7% and 0.4%, respectively. Dow futures were down more than 400 points earlier in the session. —Imbert, Fitzgerald
8:37 am: Jobless claims soar above 3 million
Americans displaced by the coronavirus crisis filed unemployment claims in record numbers, with the Labor Department reporting Thursday a surge to 3.28 million. The number shatters the Great Recession peak of 665,000 in March 2009 and the all-time mark of 695,000 in October 1982.Consensus estimates from economists surveyed by Dow Jones showed an expectation for 1.5 million new claims, though individual forecasts on Wall Street had been anticipating a much higher number. The surge comes amid a crippling slowdown brought on by the coronavirus crisis.Jobless claims are considered the quickest window into current economic conditions. Most data reports in recent weeks reflect periods before the worst of the coronavirus hit and have been showing the U.S. in relatively good shape heading into the crisis. – Cox
8:01 am: Powell’s message to Americans
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Americans on Thursday the central bank is working hard to support them during these unprecedented financial conditions. “The Federal Reserve is working hard to support you now, and our policies will be very important when the recovery does come, to make that recovery as strong as possible,” Powell said on NBC’s “Today.” “Really the message is this: This is a unique situation, its not like a typical downturn. We’ve asked people to step back from economic activity really to make an investment in our public health. They’re doing that for the public good and this bill that’s just passed is going to try to provide relief and stability to those people,” Powell added.
For the health piece of the crisis, the Fed chair said he defers to the specialists. “We would tend to listen to the experts,” said Powell. “Dr. Fauci said something like, the virus is going to set the time table and that sounds right to me.” — Fitzgerald
7:54 am: Coronavirus cases near 500,000
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus could surpass 500,000 today. There are currently more than 480,000 confirmed cases worldwide and at least 21,571 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the United States, there are at least 69,197 cases and more than 1,000 deaths.Spain’s health ministry announced on Thursday that it saw more than 8,000 new cases in 24 hours. The country now has over 4,000 deaths due to the virus, putting it ahead of China’s official data. —Pound
7:42 am: Senate passes $2 trillion stimulus bill
The Senate passed a $2 trillion bill aimed at stimulating the economy amid the coronavirus outbreak. The legislation, which now heads to the House, includes direct payments to individuals, stronger unemployment insurance, loans and grants to businesses and more health-care resources for hospitals, states and municipalities. It includes requirements that insurance providers cover preventive services for COVID-19. The bill passed with a unanimous 96-0 vote. —Imbert, Pramuk
7:32 am: Powell says Fed won’t ‘run out of ammunition’
In an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank will have enough tools to mitigate the economic blow from the coronavirus. “When it comes to this lending, we’re not going to run out of ammunition, that doesn’t happen,” Powell said. “The Federal Reserve is working hard to support you now, and our policies will be very important when the recovery does come, to make that recovery as strong as possible.” —Imbert
7:28 am: Jobless claims could be record-breaking
Economists are forecasting between 1 million and 4 million claims were filed last week as businesses around the country are forced to at least partially shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak. A number along that range would be unprecedented, particularly in such a short period of time. However, the numbers could be far worse. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday afternoon the state alone has seen 1 million unemployment claims since March 13. —Imbert
7:05 am: Stock futures lower, awaiting jobless claims
Stock futures pointed to losses at the open as investors braced for what could be a record-breaking number of Americans filing for unemployment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated an opening drop of more than 100 points at Thursday’s open. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures pointed to opening losses of about 1%.
The jobless claims data will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The official consensus estimate from Dow Jones is calling for 1.5 million claims but Citigroup believes it may be as high as 4 million. Either way, it is likely to be a record.
On Wednesday, the Dow climbed nearly 500 points on hopes of a coronavirus stimulus bill from congress, which was passed by the Senate late on Wednesday and will now head to the House of Representatives. The S&P 500 also registered a gain, climbing 1.1%. The Nasdaq Composite was the relative underperformer, dipping 0.5%, as the so-call FAANG stocks closed in the red. – Fitzgerald
— with reporting from CNBC’s Jeff Cox, Yun Li and Pippa Stevens.
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