NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Wall Street rally led global gains in stocks on Thursday despite a record number of new unemployment filings in the United States, as traders focused on the unanimous passage of a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill in the U.S. Senate and the possibility of more stimuli to come.
The legislation is intended to flood the country with cash in a bid to stem the crushing impact the virus outbreak has already had on the world’s largest economy. Nearly 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits over the past week, eclipsing the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982. The bill is heading for the House of Representatives for a vote on Friday.
“In less than two weeks, we have moved from full employment to a number of job destruction we have never experienced in a period of peace,” wrote Christopher Dembik, head of macro analysis at Saxo Bank.
Earlier on Thursday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy is likely in recession already but that reopening businesses should be dictated by the control of the virus’ spread, in contrast to the urging by some of President Donald Trump’s advisers for a faster reopening.
Trump himself has said he wants the economy to be “roaring” by Easter, in a little over two weeks, even as the U.S. death toll raced on Thursday past 1,000 people and hospitals and government authorities in New York, New Orleans and other hot spots grappled with a surge in cases and a dire shortage of supplies, staff and sick beds.
The astronomical number of jobless filings left some wondering if the stimulus package, despite its size, would be enough.
“If these numbers continue for three or four weeks, there will be demand for more fiscal support,” said Quincy Krosby,