Dow pulls itself back above 20,000, rises 1% in choppy trading

U.S. markets remain testy as the Dow Jones industrial average Thursday extended its streak of 1,000-point swings to nine sessions. The blue chips clawed into the plus column—rising nearly 1% on the day—as investors digested various government formulas aimed at limiting the economic damage from the coronavirus.

The Dow rose 188 points, or 0.95%, to close at 20,087. Other major indexes also advanced, with the S&P 500 climbing 11 points, or 0.47%, to close at 2,409, and the Nasdaq Composite jumping 160 points, or 2.3%, to close at 7,151.

Markets twitched all day following overnight announcements of a 750 billion euro bond-buying program by the European Central Bank to blunt economic pain in the euro zone and a special Federal Reserve backstop for money market mutual funds, typically a risk-free place for investors to store cash. This is the Fed’s seventh major emergency action this week.

The interventions failed to quell the uncertainty, as stocks rocked back and forth. Investors are struggling to puzzle their way through the daily medical, financial and government briefs around the coronavirus.

“My biggest concern is nobody, not even the medical experts, have any clue to how long this gets worse before it gets any better and what the magnitude of the economic decline is going to be,” said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab. “There is no question we are in a recession.”

Technology stocks—which had powered the market until the recent retreat—breathed some gains into the Nasdaq Composite.

Most of the S&P sectors were positive, with consumer discretionary, energy and technology among the winners. Energy got a boost from a record jump in oil prices. The Dow’s blue chips saw McDonald’s, Walt Disney and Goldman Sachs among the big winners. The Nasdaq Composite was helped by Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet.

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