US STOCKS-Wall Street rallies as job losses stir talk of more stimulus


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    * Weekly jobless claims rise to record 3.28 mln
    * Airlines surge on $58 bln industry aid package
    * S&P 500 set for third straight session of gains
    * Indexes jump: Dow 5.49%, S&P 4.73%, Nasdaq 3.96% 

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    By Uday Sampath Kumar and Medha Singh
    March 26 (Reuters) - Wall Street surged on Thursday as
record weekly jobless claims came in below investors' worst
fears, making a case for more aggressive stimulus to aid
businesses and families wrecked by the economic fallout of the
coronavirus pandemic.
    The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment
benefits surged to 3.28 million last week as state-wide
lockdowns brought the economy to a halt and unleashed a wave of
layoffs, but was still below estimates ranging as high as 4
    "This is the first alarming data print, but the whisper
number was probably higher than that so it does seem like
there's a little bit of relief in the market," said Shawn
Snyder, head of investment strategy at Citi Personal Wealth
Management in New York.
    A reassurance from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to
act "aggressively" to shore up credit in the market on top of
unprecedented policy easing announced on Monday also added to
investor optimism.
    "He said the Fed is not going to run out of ammunition and
that the committee still has policy room for more action," said
Charalambos Pissouros, senior market analyst at JFD Group in
    "By saying that he raises the question - will they go for
negative interest rates?"
    Expectations are high for the U.S. House of Representatives
to pass a $2 trillion stimulus bill to support distressed
industries, including airlines, after the Senate cleared the
    The S&P 500 has now clawed back nearly $3 trillion in market
value since its close on Monday and is on pace for its third
straight daily increase for the first time since the selloff
began in late February.
    But with macroeconomic indicators likely to worsen heading
into the second quarter as a breakdown in business activity and
fears of corporate defaults foreshadow a deep global recession,
analysts expect more wild swings in markets.
    The CBOE volatility index  .VIX  fell 5 points on Thursday,
but was still near levels far above those in 2018 and 2019. 
    United Airlines  UAL.O , American Airlines  AAL.O  and Delta
 DAL.O  rose between 4.5% and 10%, while Boeing  BA.N  rose 15%
to build on a strong rally this week, boosted by a $58 billion
provision for the aerospace industry in the latest aid bill.
    At 11:45 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  was
up 1,164.45 points, or 5.49%, at 22,365.00, the S&P 500  .SPX 
was up 117.13 points, or 4.73%, at 2,592.69 and the Nasdaq
Composite  .IXIC  was up 292.52 points, or 3.96%, at 7,676.82.
    All the 11 major S&P sectors was trading higher.
    Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by more than 8-to-1
on the NYSE and 5-to-1 on the Nasdaq.
    The S&P index recorded no new 52-week high or low, while the
Nasdaq recorded two new highs and 10 new lows.

 (Reporting by Uday Sampath and Medha Singh in Bengaluru;
Additional reporting by Ross Kerber in New York; Editing by
Sagarika Jaisinghani and Arun Koyyur)
 ((; within U.S.+1 646 223
8780; Twitter: @sampath_uday; Reuters Messaging:

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