Stock futures point to more gains to end the week

U.S. equity futures may add to recent gains on hopes government and central bank action can shield the world economy from a looming recession caused by the coronavirus.

The major futures indexes are indicating gains of 4 percent, or about 700 Dow points, when Wall St. begins trading on Friday.

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Investors were encouraged after seeing more steps by the Federal Reserve and other central banks and governments to support credit markets and the economy.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.5 percent in a relatively modest change compared with violent price swings over the past week.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 20087.19 +188.27 +0.95%
SP500 S&P 500 2409.39 +11.29 +0.47%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 7150.578097 +160.73 +2.30%

On Thursday, the European Central Bank launched a program to inject money into credit markets by purchasing up to $820 billion in bonds. The Bank of England cut its key interest rate to a record low of 0.1 percent.

They are trying to reduce the impact of a global recession that forecasters say looks increasingly likely as the United States and other governments tighten travel controls, close businesses and tell consumers and travelers to stay home.

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In Asian markets, The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.6 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 5 percent. Japan’s markets were closed for a holiday.

In Europe, London’s FTSE added 2.9 percent, Germany’s DAX jumpd 5.3 percent and France’s CAC gained 5.6 percent.

Also Thursday, the U.S. Federal Reserve unveiled measures to support money-market funds and the borrowing of dollars as investors in markets worldwide hurry to build up dollars and cash as insurance against falling asset prices.

In the United States, the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits jumped by 70,000 last week, more than economists expected. Another weak manufacturing report, this time in the mid-Atlantic region, added to the worries.

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The total number of known infections has topped 244,000 worldwide, including nearly 85,000 people who had recovered. The death toll has exceeded 10,000.

The Associated Press has contributed to this article.

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