US stocks rallied for a third-straight day Thursday despite a grim government report showing the coronavirus pandemic has put millions of Americans out of work.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped as much as 639.85 points, or 3 percent, in early trading even after the US Labor Department said more than 3.2 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite also climbed about 2.8 and 2.5 percent, respectively, building gains from Tuesday and Wednesday fueled by optimism about Congress passing a $2 trillion fiscal stimulus package to address the virus crisis.
While the weekly jobless claims report shattered the previous record of 695,000 unemployment applications in a single week, set in 1982, it wasn’t as bad as some experts feared. Citigroup reportedly predicted 4 million claims, while economists surveyed by Reuters largely expected 1 million.
Thursday’s report “validates the fear” that drove the brutal selloff on Wall Street in recent weeks, but investors are now pinning their hopes on the stimulus bill that aims to support workers and shore up the economy, according to Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for the Independent Advisor Alliance.
“Unfortunately the public health crisis still remains a big problem and we need to get ventilators to the hospitals that need them most,” Zaccarelli said.