US stocks gathered for a third straight day Thursday despite a tough government report showing the coronavirus pandemic has put millions of Americans into work.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped as much as 639.85 points, or 3 percent, in early trade even after the US Department of Labor said more than 3.2 million people filed unemployment benefits last week.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also climbed about 2.8 and 2.5 percent, respectively, and built gains from Tuesday and Wednesday driven by optimism about Congress passing a $ 2 trillion financial stimulus package to deal with the virus crisis.
While the weekly unemployment claims report destroyed the previous record of 695,000 unemployment applications in a single week, set in 1982, it was not as bad as some experts feared. Citigroup reportedly predicted 4 million claims, while economists surveyed by Reuters generally expected 1 million.
Thursday’s report “validates the fear” that drove the brutal sales on Wall Street in recent weeks, but investors are now holding on to their hopes on the stimulus bill aimed at supporting workers and boosting the economy, according to Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for the Independent Advisor Alliance.
“Unfortunately, the public health crisis is still a big problem and we need to get ventilators to the hospitals that need them most,” Zaccarelli said.