Wall Street ended mixed amid signs there could be a delay in the US Senate approving a $US2 trillion ($3.4 trillion) coronavirus rescue package.
- The Australian share market rises in early trade with most sectors making gains
- The head of the WTO says the economic downturn and job losses caused by coronavirus will be worse than the GFC
- Stimulus hopes are helping global markets to recover
US Republicans and Democrats had agreed on the unprecedented stimulus bill, which includes a $US500 billion ($839 billion) fund to help industries and direct payments of up to $US3,000 ($5,000) each for millions of families.
However, Democratic senator Bernie Sanders said he was prepared to put a “hold” on the stimulus bill if Republicans did not drop objections to language around jobless benefits.
The Dow Jones index surged as much as 6 per cent but pared its highs on the news.
It closed up 2.4 per cent or 496 points to 21,201.
The S&P 500 rose 28 points or 1.2 per cent at 2,476.
It has lost about $11.75 trillion in value from its record high last month.
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The Nasdaq lost its gains and fell 34 points or 0.4 per cent to 7,384.
Boeing jumped 24 per cent as investors hoped for government support for the aerospace and aviation industries.
Walmart is waiving rent for in-store businesses in April.
More than 10,000 firms, from hair and nail salons to restaurants, operate in Walmart shopping centres.
But the governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, said the stimulus package was “terrible” for his state, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the US.
Trade hit worse than GFC
The head of the World Trade Organisation said projections showed the economic downturn and job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic would be worse than the 2008 recession.
Director-general Roberto Azevedo said in a video message filmed from his home “the pandemic will inevitably have an enormous impact on the economy”.
“Recent projections predict an economic downturn and job losses that are worse than the global financial crisis a dozen years ago,” he said.
The organisation enforces the rules for global trade.
European stocks also jumped on the stimulus hopes.
The FTSE 100 index rose 4.5 per cent, or 242 points to 5,688.
Oil prices also gained with West Texas crude oil up 2 per cent to $US24.49 US a barrel.
Spot gold has come off its overnight low to $US1,610.54 US an ounce.
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ASX set for positive start
At 7:30 AEDT, the Australian share market was set for a rise with the ASX SPI 200 index up 2 per cent or 104 points to 5,149.
The ASX 200 index put on 3.2 per cent on Wednesday.
At 7:30 AEDT, the Australian dollar was buying around 59.58 US cents.
It had climbed to an overnight high of above 60 US cents.
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