Stocks open 2% higher after Senate passes coronavirus relief bill

NEW YORK — Stocks are opening broadly higher on Wall Street after the Senate approved a $2.2 trillion bill to provide economic relief for damage done by the coronavirus outbreak. Major indexes were up more than 2% in early trading Thursday, following their first back-to-back gains since a dramatic sell-off took hold of markets five weeks ago. Investors were relieved that a massive surge in unemployment applications, despite busting records at 3.3 million, fell short of the worst forecasts. The outbreak has happened so suddenly that the jobless report is one of the first points of data showing how much economic pain it’s creating.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story is below:

Global stocks and U.S. futures declined Thursday after the U.S. Senate approved a proposed $2.2 trillion virus aid package following a delay over its details and sent the measure to the House of Representatives.

After two days of broad gains, indexes in London and Frankfurt opened down almost 2% while Tokyo lost 4.5%. Shanghai and Hong Kong also declined.

On Wall Street, the future for the S&P 500 index lost 1.1% after the Senate approved aid late Wednesday to blunt the impact of business shutdowns due to the coronavirus that has killed more than 21,000 people worldwide. The measure goes to the House, which is expected to approve it Friday.

“Investors now have to judge whether tremendous policy support is sufficient to meet worsening economic conditions,” said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp. in a report.

The future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.7% lower ahead of a government report Thursday that forecasters expect to show a record number of Americans filed for unemployment benefits following a wave of layoffs. The S&P 500 rose 1.2% on Wednesday but is down nearly 27% from its peak a month ago.

The Senate vote was delayed by arguments over whether the measure does too much or too little for companies, workers and health care systems. Forecasters say a recession looks increasingly inevitable.

The delay “brings about a wait-and-see tone for markets,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report issued before the Senate approval.