Stocks climbed Thursday amid a mix of optimistic and pessimistic news on the coronavirus front. The S&P 500 rose 32 points to 2,881, the Dow rose 211 points to 23,875, and the Nasdaq climbed 125 points to 8,979. The Dow's gain was below 1% and the gains of the other two were above 1%. The day’s headliner economic report showed another 3.2 million US workers applied for jobless benefits last week, bringing the total over the last seven weeks to 33.5 million. It’s a shocking number, but it’s also the fifth straight week that it has declined since hitting a peak in late March, per the AP.
Several companies (including Lyft and Waste Management) on late Wednesday also cited signs that the worst may be behind them, at least in some parts of their businesses. That was enough to bolster hopes that have coursed through the stock market recently as investors look ahead to a future that’s not as bad as the horrific present. On Wall Street, investors often care more about how quickly economic pain is increasing than about whether there is more pain. “Investors are saying, 'Look, I know things are bad, tell me something I don’t know,'" said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. "If I know things are going to be horrendous, the only way you can surprise me is to the upside."
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