Mar 26, 2020 - Economy & Business

Stocks surge despite record-breaking unemployment claims

Photo: Luiz Roberto Lima-ANB/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

U.S. stocks shrugged off news of a record-breaking 3.3 million unemployment claims last week, closing higher for the third straight day as Congress moved closer to passing a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package.

Driving the news: Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she expects the House to pass the Senate's rescue bill — the largest of its kind in U.S. history — on Friday, before moving on to a potential "Phase 4" package.

  • "The bill that was passed in the Senate last night and that we will take up tomorrow is about mitigation,” Pelosi said. “There’s so many things we didn’t get in any of these bills yet in the way that we need to."
  • The Senate package includes thousands of dollars in direct payments to most Americans, a $500 billion loan fund for large corporations and a $367 billion loan program for small businesses. (More details)

By the numbers:

  • S&P 500: +5.6%
  • Nasdaq: +6.1%
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: +1,322 points, or +6.2%

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Senate passes $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill

White House Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland leaves Chuck Schumer's office on March 25. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Senate passed the largest rescue package in modern history on Wednesday to alleviate economic pressure caused by the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 1,000 people in the U.S. and over 21,000 people globally.

Why it matters: The roughly $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package includes thousands of dollars in direct payments to most Americans — millions of whom face unemployment related to the spread of COVID-19 — as well as a $500 billion loan fund for large corporations and a $367 billion loan program for small businesses.

Pelosi: "Real optimism" for coronavirus stimulus deal "in the next few hours"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNBC's Jim Cramer Tuesday that there is "real optimism" that a coronavirus stimulus deal could come together "in the next few hours."

Driving the news: One "big change" in the negotiations that Pelosi highlighted was the fact that Senate Republicans and the Trump administration agreed to House Democrats' oversight language for the $500 billion fund designed to help impacted industries.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The growing coronavirus stimulus packages

President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, joined by members of the Coronavirus Task Force. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As the Senate was passing a "Phase 2" stimulus package Wednesday to address the coronavirus, the White House and leaders on Capitol Hill were pushing ahead on a "Phase 3" deal that would pump an additional $1 trillion into the economy.

Why it matters: In just a few weeks, the White House has gone from proposing a few billion dollars in quick aid to one of the largest and most expensive stimulus packages in modern history.