Stocks finish best four-day stretch since 1974

Stocks finish best four-day stretch since 1974
© UPI Photo

The S&P 500 on Thursday closed out its best four-day streak since 1974, according to CNBC, with traders turning optimistic amid flattening coronavirus infection curves in some of the hardest-hit parts of the U.S.

The S&P gained 11.9 percent in the trade-shortened week, with markets closed tomorrow for Good Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 12 percent for the week.

Financial markets jumped Thursday following the announcement of new rescue efforts from the Federal Reserve and after signs of improvement in the slumping energy market.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 285 points, or 1.2 percent, while the S&P closed up 40 points, or 1.5 percent.

Markets surged in early trading after the Fed detailed its new $2.3 trillion lending program targeting small- and mid-size businesses.

Trading also gained on a reported deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia to cut oil production, which would raise the price of oil and take the pressure off U.S. energy producers.

But the initial spike in prices retreated as traders awaited word on an official announcement that didn't come until after the closing bell.

Still, the good news overshadowed yet another stunning unemployment report, with 6.6 million people in the U.S. applying for jobless benefits last week.

In the past three weeks alone, nearly 17 million people applied for unemployment benefits, leading experts to estimate that the jobless rate has already risen as high as 14 percent. The rate was 3.5 percent before the pandemic took hold.