US Stocks surged Tuesday (March 17) — rebounding from their worst day in more than three decades — as Wall Street cheered White House plans that could inject $1 trillion into the U.S. economy to cushion the blow of the coronavirus, CNBC reported.
Ending the session on Tuesday, the Dow Jones soared 1,048.79 points (equivalent to 5.2%) to 21,237.31 points, briefly dipped below the 20,000 for the first time since February 2017 before rebounding. The S&P 500 was up 6% at 2,529.19 while Nasdaq Composite gained 6.2% at 7,334.78.
The Trump administration is weighing a fiscal stimulus package of more than $1 trillion that includes direct payments to Americans, according to a source familiar with the matter. Earlier, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters the government is considering directly sending checks to Americans in the next two weeks. “Americans need cash now,” he said.
Mnuchin added corporations will be able to defer tax payments of up to $10 million while individuals could defer up to $1 million in payments to the Internal Revenue Service. Mnuchin also said President Donald Trump authorized the deferral of $300 billion in IRS payments.
Treasury yields jumped, with the 10-year U.S. rate breaking back above 1% on news of the big stimulus plan. Yields move inversely to prices. The iShares 20+Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) dropped more than 6% as investors fled bonds for stocks.
The Federal Reserve announced measures to help companies struggling to get short-term funding amid the outbreak. The market has been hampered by a lack of demand for paper issued, and Wall Street has been looking for central bank intervention along the lines of what happened during the financial crisis.
Amazon shares jumped 7% after an analyst at Bank of America noted the e-commerce giant will benefit from the global “in-home shift” due to the coronavirus. Netflix climbed 7% as well while Apple closed 4.3% higher.
Biotech giant Regeneron, meanwhile, said Tuesday morning that it’s aiming to have doses of a potential drug for COVID-19 ready to start human clinical trials by early summer. The announcement, which represents a marked acceleration in the company’s drug timeline, sparked a 11.5% rally in the company’s equity.
More than 5,700 cases have been confirmed in the U.S. along with more than 90 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. President Donald Trump also said the crisis could stretch into August, adding the administration may look at locking down “certain areas.”
The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) — Wall Street’s preferred fear gauge — posted its highest-ever close at 82.69. That tops the financial crisis’ peak of 80.74. On Tuesday, the VIX traded down 9.2 points at 73.2.