Wall St rallies for third day as investors focus on stimulus

Wall Street rallied for a third straight session on Thursday as record weekly jobless claims came in below investors’ worst fears and investors focused on an unprecedented $2 trillion stimulus awaiting approval by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits surged to 3.28 million last week as state-wide lockdowns brought the economy to a halt and unleashed a wave of layoffs.

The median expectation of analysts polled by Reuters was for 1 million claims, but the top end of the forecast was as high as 4 million.

Expectations are high that the U.S. House of Representatives will pass the stimulus measure to support distressed industries, including airlines, after the Senate cleared the proposal.

It would flood the country with cash in an effort to stem the crushing economic impact of an intensifying pandemic that has killed about 1,000 and infected nearly 70,000 people in the United States.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was on track for three straight day of gains for the first time since mid-February, before coronavirus fears stopped Wall Street’s 11-year bull market. Since Monday, the S&P 500 has surged almost 15%, although it remains down 24% from its Feb. 19 record high.

“It’s encouraging to see people buying a day after a big up day because we hadn’t seen that in a month,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading & derivatives at Charles Schwab. “That doesn’t guarantee that the bottom is in, but it is indicative of a bottoming process.”

Delta Air Lines jumped 5.2%, while Boeing rose 14%, boosted by a $58 billion provision for the aerospace industry in the latest aid bill. Boeing has surged over 90% in the past four sessions.

Adding to upbeat sentiment, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank

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