Stocks finished higher Thursday after global central banks launched fresh emergency action to soften the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The European Central Bank said it would buy €750 billion of bonds to help insulate the region's economy from what investors expect will be a likely recession, and the Federal Reserve launched a program to support money markets.
The Fed late Wednesday set up the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility to assist money-market funds “in meeting demands for redemptions by households and other investors, enhancing overall market functioning and credit provision to the broader economy.”
On Thursday, the central bank said it would set up $450 billion in U.S. dollar swap lines with nine central banks around the world to ease funding costs and boost liquidity in economies worldwide.
The Bank of England cut interest rates Thursday to 0.1% - the lowest in its 300-year history - from 0.25% after slashing them last week from 0.75%.
Investor Ray Dalio told CNBC on Thursday that "what you're seeing is the inability of central banks to stimulate in a way that is normal."
“We are now at a point where there will have to be a debt restructuring and a monetization of that,” Dalio said. “We’re living in a different world like the 1930s in which 1930s, 1932 you have a devaluation of the dollar. You have the printing of money.”
Jobless claims in the U.S. rose by 70,000 to 281,000, a two-year high, in the week ended March 14. Economists expect the numbers to keep surging as restaurants, bars and other corners of the economy are forced to close and employees lose their jobs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 188 points, or 0.95%, to 20,087, the S&P 500 was up 0.47%, and the Nasdaq rose 2.3% as Netflix (NFLX) - Get Report, Facebook (FB) - Get Report, Apple (AAPL) - Get Report and Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Report rose.
Stocks on Wall Street finished sharply lower Wednesday with the Dow losing almost all the gains achieved since Donald Trump was inaugurated in January 2017. The index had declined nearly a third since its Feb. 12 record close of 29,551.42.
The Dow on Wednesday finished down 1,338 points, or 6.3%, to 19,898, the S&P 500 dropped 5.18% and the Nasdaq was down 4.7%.
President Trump signed an aid package, approved Wednesday by the Senate, to help offset some of the economic damage being caused by the coronavirus shutdowns.
The package provides for expansion of paid sick and family leave, free testing for the coronavirus and increased unemployment insurance.
The aid package clears the path for additional emergency legislation to help get money into the rapidly contracting U.S. economy. Reports put the stimulus package at about $1.2 trillion.
The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 236,420, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and deaths increased to 9,790.
The U.S. has 11,274 cases of the virus and deaths have climbed to more than 150.
In Hubei, the Chinese province that is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, no new locally transmitted infections were reported for the first time since the virus was identified two to three months ago.