Stocks have first back-to-back gains since sell-off began – By Associated Press (The Philadelphia Inquirer) / March 25 2020
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 the White House and Senate leaders announced an agreement on the aid bill early Wednesday. A vote had been expected in the Senate by the end of the day, but then some lawmakers balked at the proposed bill.
Senators Tim Scott, Ben Sasse and Lindsey Graham said that they found a “drafting error” in the legislation that could give employers incentives to lay off employees. Afterward, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he would put a hold on the bill unless the three Republican senators dropped their objections to it.
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.