Stocks closed higher Thursday (March 19), erasing steep losses from earlier in the day as strong gains in big-tech shares led to a sharp turnaround, CNBC reported.
At the end of the session on Thursday, The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 188.27 points, or nearly 1% to 20,087.19. The S&P 500 was up 0.5% at 2,409.39 while the Nasdaq Composite outperformed with a 2.3% surge to 7,150.58. Shares of Netflix and Facebook rose 5.3% and 4.2%, respectively. Amazon gained 2.8%.
Earlier in the session, the Dow Jones was down 721 points, or more than 3%. The S&P 500 briefly fell more than 3% as well.
Among the industries trading in positive territory Thursday was energy, with the S&P sector up more than 6%. Big oil producers like Diamondback Energy and Apache rose more than 11% each as futures contracts tied to the price of West Texas Intermediate crude rallied 23%, its biggest one-day move ever.
That moves followed yet another volatile day on Wall Street. The Dow dropped 1,338.46 points, or 6.3%, on Wednesday (March 18) and clinched its first close below 20,000 since February 2017.
Wall Street has been on an unprecedented roller-coaster ride amid the coronavirus turmoil, with the S&P 500 swinging 4% or more in either direction for eight consecutive sessions prior to Thursday.
Meanwhile, the ICE U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback’s performance against other six currencies, jumped Thursday to its highest level since January 2017. It last traded up 1.5% at 102.67.
“Whether it’s Asia, Brazil, emerging markets, Europe or here in the U.S., the dollar is in demand right now,” Gregory Faranello, head of U.S. rates trading at AmeriVet Securities said.
On Wednesday evening (March 18), the European Central Bank announced a new Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program that will deploy €750 billion ($819 billion) to purchase securities to help support the European economy. The central bank said purchases will be conducted until the end of 2020 and include a variety of assets including government debt.
The ECB’s action follows similar initiatives by the Federal Reserve. The Fed announced earlier this month plans to pump an additional $1 trillion into the U.S. economy through asset purchases and cut the federal funds rate to zero. The Fed also said Wednesday night (March 18) it will create a backstop for prime money market funds.
On the fiscal side, President Donald Trump signed Wednesday (March 18) a bill that that expands paid leave for workers during the coronavirus crisis.
On Thursday, Trump said he would not oppose barring companies from conducting buybacks if they receive federal assistance during the pandemic.
Coronavirus cases around the world top 236,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S. alone, more than 9,790 cases have been confirmed along with over 150 deaths.