Market Coverage: Thursday March 11th Yahoo Finance
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Stocks advanced on Thursday and the Dow and S&P 500 each set record intraday highs after Congress passed another expansive coronavirus relief package. Technology shares rebounded, and Treasury yields steadied.
The Dow and S&P 500 each added more than 1%. The Nasdaq outperformed as tech stocks resurged, and the index climbed 2.3% around 11 a.m. in New York.
Over the past several weeks, the technology-heavy Nasdaq and Dow have diverged in performance as traders increasingly piled into value and cyclical shares viewed as most closely tied to a strong economic recovery. The cyclical energy and financials sectors have also been leading gains in the S&P 500, extending a run of outperformance against tech and growth shares. Treasury yields steadied across the curve, pulling back following a milder than expected print on consumer price inflation earlier this week.
Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Wednesday afternoon, which includes provisions like $1,400 stimulus checks to most Americans, $300 per week in augmented unemployment benefits through early September, and $350 billion in state, local and tribal government aid. President Joe Biden is poised to sign the bill as soon as Friday, as it has already cleared the Senate.
The passage of the massive bill — exceeded in dollar amount only by the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed at the start of the pandemic last year — will reverberate quickly through the economy, many pundits have said. The bill also comes one year following the World Health Organization’s formal designation of the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic, which took place March 11, 2020.
“The most immediate impact in the macroeconomic data will be in retail sales numbers, where some of the $410 billion in direct payments will appear in both the March and — especially — April reports,” Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics wrote in a note Wednesday. “We also expect to see a rapid response — though not quite as quick as in the retail sales data — from state and local governments, which will use much of their $350 billion in direct support from the federal government, alongside $130 billion for schools, to re-hire some of the 1.3 million people let go from the sector since the pandemic started.”
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