A new report on jobless claims Thursday showed that a staggering 1.2 million people applied for benefits last week. But in the age of the coronavirus, that actually qualifies as decent news because the figure is down from 1.4 million the previous week, notes the AP. Largely because of that, the stock market increased on the day. The Dow rose 185 points to 27,386, the S&P 500 rose 21 points to 3,349, and the Nasdaq rose 109 points to 11,108. Nasdaq's gain was 1%, and the other two were below 1%.
“We’ve gotten used to numbers that are so large any improvement is seen as good news," Ram Lee of Seven Bridges Advisors tells the Wall Street Journal. "But you still have a pretty meaningful contraction of GDP and a huge amount of joblessness.” The jobless figure beat expectations and marked the first decline in three weeks. Now on the horizon: Investors are anxiously hoping Congress can agree on another stimulus package. (Read more stock market stories.)