US stocks rallied for a third straight day Thursday as Wall Street shook off news that the coronavirus pandemic has put millions of Americans out of work.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 1,351.62 points, or 6.4 percent, to close at 22,552.17, even after the US Labor Department said more than 3.2 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week.
The surge — which launched a new bull market for the Dow after an 11-day drop, its shortest in history — came after the blue-chip index staged its first back-to-back rallies on Tuesday and Wednesday as Congress and the White House agreed on a $2 trillion stimulus bill.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq climbed 6.2 and 5.6 percent, respectively, building gains from Tuesday and Wednesday fueled by optimism about the giant fiscal stimulus package, which will hand out checks to millions of Americans and rescue cash-strapped industries ranging from airlines to hotels and restaurants.
While the weekly jobless claims report shattered the record of 695,000 set in 1982, it didn’t appear to shock investors who had long anticipated that the pandemic would wreak havoc on the labor market.
“This stock market has fallen about seven times faster than any other bear market in postwar history, and that tells me there’s a lot of bad news already discounted,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group. “It’s got to get worse than what’s already in there, and there’s a lot of bad stuff in there.”
Jobless claims spiked more than most expectations, but not as much as some analysts feared. Citigroup reportedly predicted 4 million claims, while economists surveyed by Reuters largely expected 1 million.
The numbers aren’t likely to improve in the near future as the coronavirus keeps businesses shut across the country. Some