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Stocks move higher on stimulus measures

By AI HEPING in New York | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-03-21 00:14

Wall Street and global stock markets moved higher Friday as governments around the world responded to the coronavirus pandemic with a range of economic measures.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed as much as 347.11 points, or 1.7 percent, at the open after gaining 1 percent Thursday. The S&P 500 rose 1 percent in early trading, while the Nasdaq composite saw a stronger 1.9 percent jump.

The European Central Bank's massive bond-buying program sent stocks in Paris and Frankfurt up more than 3 percent. In London, the FTSE 100 was up nearly 2 percent.

The Federal Reserve on Thursday offered to temporarily provide billions of dollars at near-zero rates to central banks faced with dollar shortages in many parts of the world, easing market strains.

In the United States, Senate Republicans on Thursday put forth a $1 trillion economic stimulus bill.

"The pledged policy response has been swift — and we expect total fiscal stimulus to be similar in size to that of the financial crisis but in a shorter time frame," wrote analysts at BlackRock Investment Institute, a research arm of the world's biggest money manager.

Wall Street is still on track to close the week deep in the red. The Dow shed 3,098.43 points, or 13.3 percent, this week through Thursday as it posted a record point loss and closed below 20,000 for the first time in three years. The S&P was off 11.1 percent for the week while the Nasdaq was down about 9.2 percent.

Kevin Hassett, the former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers in the Trump administration, announced that he is returning to the White House to advise Trump on the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump asked Hassett, a CNN commentator, to rejoin the administration. He left in June 2019 after nearly two years.

He told CNN on Thursday that the widespread shutdowns caused by the coronavirus health crisis could spark a repeat of the Great Depression.

"We're going to have to either have a Great Depression, or figure out a way to send people back to work even though that's risky," Hassett said. "Because at some point, we can't not have an economy, right?"

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