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U.S. Markets Rally as Coronavirus Stimulus Plans Advance in Congress

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UPDATED: Major U.S. stock indices staged a sustained rally on Tuesday amid hopeful signs that another federal economic stimulus package is coming together to provide relief to workers and businesses jolted by the sudden impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 1,000 points, or 6%, at the start of the trading session. The bellwether index stayed mostly steady throughout the day before a more than 300-point bounce in the final 15 minutes of trading allowed it to close up 1,937 points, or 11.4%. The NASDAQ was up 8.1% for the day while the S&P 500 climbed 9.4%.

Tuesday’s gains, which followed another down day on Monday, make up only a fraction of the value lost during the past two weeks of frenzied sell-offs. But the plus signs were welcome relief for stocks in companies that had weaknesses going into the full-boar coronavirus crisis in the U.S. Those shares have been mercilessly battered in the downturn over the past two weeks.

On Tuesday, ViacomCBS gained 31% to close at $14.75. Last week the stock was flirting with falling under the $10 threshold. AMC Networks posted a 15.2% gain to $25.67. Discovery Inc. was up 8.3% to $20.03.

Disney has not been immune to the downturn given its vulnerabilities from its theme parks and cruise lines as well the temporary shutdown of most TV and film production. Disney logged a 14.3% improvement, to $98.01, that pushed its stock close to the $100 mark again.

Netflix was one of the few media and telecom stocks to take a dip against the rising tide, falling less than 1% to $357.32.

Markets may have been goosed along by comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on CNBC that she had “real optimism” that a compromise stimulus bill could be passed by the House and Senate by day’s end. There have also been proactive steps from the private sector to address the economic devastation caused by mass shutdowns of non-essential businesses in major cities.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett said Tuesday that the automaker has teamed with GE Healthcare to produce ventilators and safety gear for health care workers. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson announced last week that the company will provide 30 days of pay for workers in an effort to ease the impact on families and the broader economy.