NEW YORK – Stocks scored their first back-to-back gains Wednesday since a brutal sell-off began five weeks ago, but much of an early rally faded late in the day as a last-minute dispute threatened to hold up a $2 trillion economic rescue package in Congress.
The S&P 500 rose 1.2%, bringing its two-day gain to 10.6%. It had been up 5.1% earlier in the day as Congress moved closer to approving the plan to provide badly needed aid to an economy that has been ravaged by the coronavirus. The market is now down nearly 27% since setting a record high a month ago.
Many on Wall Street say they don't think stocks have hit bottom yet, but optimism rose after White House and Senate leaders announced an agreement on the aid bill early Wednesday.
Investors were anxiously waiting for the aid in the rescue package, which lawmakers hope will help blunt the blow to the economy as businesses shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 495.64 points, or 2.4%, to 21,200.55. It had been up more than 1,300 points before the rally faded.
Boeing soared 24.3% in part on expectations that it stands to gain from the aid package brokered on Capitol Hill. Other travel-related stocks also stormed higher to recoup a fraction of their huge losses over the last month. Royal Caribbean Cruises jumped 23%, but it's still down by 68.2% for the year.
Nike climbed nearly 9.2% after it said stronger online sales in China during the coronavirus outbreak helped it offset plunges in revenue caused by the shutdown of stores across the country. The company said it will follow a similar playbook in other countries as the outbreak has spread around the world. It also said sales are bouncing back in China, where the outbreak has eased and most Nike stores have reopened.