Stocks surge as Fed rolls out $2.3T lending program

U.S. equity markets surged Thursday morning after the Federal Reserve’s plan to provide $2.3 trillion in lending to households and businesses overshadowed a surge in jobless claims.

The Fed’s initiative undergirds government efforts to combat fallout from the economic shutdown imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Traders were also awaiting the outcome of a virtual meeting between Russia, Saudi Arabia and other key oil players on curbing output to boost prices that cratered amid a price war.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 513 points, or 2.19 percent, putting the index on track for its best week since 1938 as markets are closed Friday in observance of Good Friday. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were higher by 2.14 percent and 1.14 percent, respectively,

he benchmark S&P 500 on Wednesday exited its bear market that began on March 12, making it the second shortest in history.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 23795.94 +362.37 +1.55%
SP500 S&P 500 2803.17 +53.19 +1.93%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 8174.726804 +83.82 +1.04%

Thursday’s gains were hampered by initial jobless claims totaling 6.6 million for the week ended April 4, outpacing the 5.25 million that economists surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. The report raises the total number of first-time filings to 16.6 million amid disruptions including factory idlings and store closings caused by COVID-19.

Oil rallied after a Reuters report said Russia and Saudi Arabia have settled their biggest disagreements over a production cut, paving the way for a deal that could reduce output by as much as 20 million barrels per day. West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, was up 8.01 percent at $27.10 a barrel, giving a lift to shares of energy companies.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
XOM EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION 44.36 +0.51 +1.16%
CVX CHEVRON CORP. 85.89 -0.09 -0.10%
EOG EOG RESOURCES 44.06 -1.23 -2.72%

Disney announced the number of subscribers for its streaming service, Disney+, has nearly doubled since the beginning of February to more than 50 million. Rival Netflix has more than 160 million subscribers.

Costco reported sales rose 11.7 percent to $15.5 billion in the five weeks through April 5.

General Electric told investors its first-quarter results would fall short of its prior guidance and pulled its full-year outlook due to uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

Starbucks warned late Wednesday that it sees second-quarter adjusted earnings falling 46 percent to 32 cents a share. The coffee giant said same-store sales plunged by as much as 70 percent during the last week of March as COVID-19-related shutdowns spread.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DIS WALT DISNEY COMPANY 106.37 +5.30 +5.25%
COST COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION 299.99 -5.99 -1.96%
GE GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY 7.30 +0.01 +0.07%
SBUX STARBUCKS CORPORATION 73.84 +2.27 +3.17%

Carnival Corp. gained for a fourth straight day after Saudi Arabia announced an 8 percent stake in the embattled cruise operator.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
CCL CARNIVAL CORP. 13.18 +1.19 +9.92%
RCL ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES 42.64 +5.08 +13.53%
NCLH NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE HOLDINGS LTD. 13.95 +2.23 +19.02%

U.S. Treasurys rose, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down by 2.4 basis points to 0.742 percent.

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE and Germany’s DAX rose 1 percent and 0.37 percent, respectively, while France’s CAC inched up 0.08 percent.

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In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1.38 percent after the government announced an $18.8 billion stimulus package.  Elsewhere, China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.37 percent and Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.04 percent.

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