The Journal Gazette
Saturday, March 28, 2020 1:00 am

Stocks dip, but weekly gains hold

Dow's biggest gain in 82 years caps days of turbulence

ALEX VEIGA and DAMIAN J. TROISE | Associated Press

Wall Street closed lower Friday but still notched big gains for the week as investors held out hope that a $2 trillion rescue package will cushion businesses and households from the economic devastation being caused by the coronavirus.

The S&P 500 closed 3.4% lower but still climbed 10.3% for the week, its biggest gain since March 2009. That follows two weeks of relentless selling.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's 12.8% weekly gain was its biggest since 1938.

The latest bout of selling left the S&P 500 down 88.60 points to 2,541.47. The Dow slid 915.39 points, or 4.1%, to 21,636.78. The Nasdaq lost 295.16 points, or 3.8%, to 7,502.38. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks fell 48.33 points, or 4.1%, to 1,131.99.

Stocks had soared over the previous three days as the relief bill moved closer to becoming law. It passed the House on Friday afternoon and President Donald Trump signed it later in the day.

The bill includes direct payments to households, aid to hard-hit industries like airlines and support for small businesses. Despite the help, analysts expect markets to remain turbulent until the outbreak begins to wane.

Even after the rally this week the market is still down 25% from the peak it reached a month ago. The outbreak has forced widespread shutdowns that has ground much of the U.S. economy to a halt.

“The key at this point is getting a handle on the spread of the virus so that then we can start to think about what (economic) growth looks like for the remainder of the year,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird.

“The takeaway from this week is the initial down phase has probably run its course. Investors can get out of the duck-and-cover mode and start to figure out what they need to do.

“It doesn't mean that we've gotten an all-clear signal.”

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily