US equities notch solid weekly gains

30 March, 2020 12:00 AM printer

NEW YORK: Wall Street notched impressive gains in the week featuring a highly anticipated U.S. relief package as well as unprecedented aggressive efforts by the U.S. Federal Reserve to bolster the economy amid the COVID-19 crisis.

For the week ending March 27, the Dow advanced 12.8 percent, its strongest one-week gain since 1938. The S&P 500 rose 10.3 percent for its best weekly performance since March 2009. The Nasdaq climbed 9.1 percent, also its biggest weekly jump in 11 years, reports Xinhua.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday signed a 2-trillion-dollar stimulus bill, the largest stimulus package in U.S. history, in an attempt to rescue the economy devastated by COVID-19.

The Senate approved the bill on Wednesday night, following rounds of strenuous negotiations between Democrats and Republicans. Then the House of Representatives passed it on Friday by voice vote.

The bill, aimed at cushioning the economy from COVID-19 ravages, will provide small businesses emergency loans, business tax breaks, expanded unemployment benefits, 1,000-dollar-plus direct payments for working Americans, government aid for industries such as airlines and hotels, as well as more support for hospitals and state and local governments. This massive emergency relief package attracted investors' attention this week. Wall Street scored a historic rally on Tuesday in anticipation of the fiscal stimulus, with the 30-stock index up more than 2,100 points, or over 11 percent, marking its biggest one-day percentage gain since 1933.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus in the United States wreaked havoc on its economy.

The Federal Reserve announced on Monday that it will purchase U.S. treasuries and agency mortgage-backed securities with no limit to help markets function more efficiently amid coronavirus uncertainty. A shocking number of Americans applied for jobless benefits last week due to the coronavirus outbreak.

U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, were registered at 3,283,000 in the week ending March 21, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week's revised level, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.