Boeing is up nearly 90 percent this week. American Airlines has jumped almost 50 percent. Carnival Corporation has soared nearly that much as well.

Wall Street has been in rally mode, as investors bid up shares of companies that were set to receive support from Washington’s $2 trillion coronavirus aid bill.

With the package advancing through the Senate, the gains continued on Thursday. The S&P 500 climbed 6.2 percent, even after the government reported a staggering jump in unemployment claims by workers.

As it has been all week, investors’ focus was on companies likely to get help from the spending plan that passed the Senate on Wednesday night. The House of Representatives and President Trump are expected to approve it.

Boeing rose nearly 14 percent on Thursday because the specifically sets aside $17 billion for “businesses critical to maintaining national security” — language that was seen as intended at least partly for the aircraft manufacturer and key Pentagon contractor.

Other companies that were hit hard in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak continued to soar. American and Delta Air Lines rose nearly 2 percent. Carnival was up about 14 percent.

The gains on Thursday also spread to Europe, with major benchmarks there reversing their losses to end the day sharply higher. The FTSE 100 in Britain climbed more than 2 percent.

The three-day rally has lifted the S&P 500 by more than 17 percent, its best such run since 1933, according to data from Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst for S&P Dow Jones Indices. Most of those gains came on Tuesday, when stocks rose 9.4 percent, amid growing hope that the large stimulus package would offer support to an economy crippled by the outbreak and efforts to curtail the spread of the virus.

But the economic crisis is perhaps the most daunting since World War II. On Thursday, a government report showed a record rise in weekly applications for unemployment benefits, which jumped to nearly 3.3 million from 282,000 in a week.

Until now, the record occurred in the fall of 1982, when 695,000 Americans applied for benefits in one week. At that point, the United States was more than a year into a recession, and the unemployment rate had passed 10 percent.

The numbers, released by the Labor Department on Thursday, are some of the first hard data on the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down whole sectors of American life.

While stocks rallied on Thursday, after the report, they remain down more than 20 percent from their February peak, suggesting much of the recent bad economic news has been incorporated into market prices.

“At these levels, you can argue that a recession is priced in,” Yousef Abbasi, global market strategist at INTL FCStone, a financial services and brokerage firm. “Now it just depends on the depth of that recession.”

There were also signs on Thursday that investors remained nervous about the economy. Prices for longer-term U.S. Treasury bonds were up, sending yields lower and suggesting some investors were still looking for safe places to park their money, and oil prices fell.

Lawmakers put some restrictions on the compensation of executives whose companies receive government assistance under the bill, in an effort to address one of the criticisms about bailouts of banks and other companies during the 2008 financial crisis. But the limits will not do away with multimillion-dollar paydays for corporate bosses.

  • Executives who made more than $3 million in 2019 could be awarded $3 million, plus half of any sum in excess of $3 million. As a result, a chief executive who earned $20 million in 2019 would be allowed compensation of $11.5 million, or $3 million plus half of $17 million per year.

  • Companies receiving assistance will not be allowed to increase the compensation of executives who earned $425,000 to $3 million in 2019 until a year after government support ends.

The package includes more than $370 billion in much-needed help for small businesses. The bill will allow banks to lend directly to businesses, and those loans will be backed by the Small Business Administration.

  • It could take at least two weeks after the bill is signed into law for the money to begin flowing.

  • Small businesses would not have to repay portions of loans that were spent on paying employees, a mortgage, rent or utilities. The banks lending the money would be reimbursed for those portions by the Treasury Department.

The role of banks in the rescue bill is to provide much-needed capital to businesses and taxpayers. “This is all about preserving the incentives for banks to lend,” said Mike Mayo, who researches large banks for Wells Fargo.

  • To ensure access to cash is not hampered by a raft of new client demands or market developments, the Fed has encouraged banks to use the so-called discount window, its lending operation for big banks, and at least eight major financial institutions already have.

  • Banks can opt out of observing new federal accounting standards for estimating future credit losses during the period covered by the law, a rule known as Current Expected Credit Losses.

  • The bill revives a crisis-era program to guarantee all bank debt, a move that once again puts taxpayers on the hook if a bank runs into trouble.

Though the coronavirus outbreak has walloped much of the energy industry by driving down oil prices and making it harder to finance new renewable energy projects, the Senate bill does not help much.

  • The bill did not include $3 billion the Trump administration had requested to buy crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Such a purchase could have helped lift demand for oil somewhat, and thus its price, which in the United States has tumbled to less than $25 a barrel in recent weeks. The Energy Department said Thursday that it was withdrawing a proposal to purchase 30,000 barrels of oil for the reserve.

  • Solar and wind businesses were upset that lawmakers did not make it easier for them to benefit from tax credits for renewable energy.

“This will probably be the world’s first recession that starts in the service sector,” said Gabriel Mathy, an assistant professor at American University.

That won’t be where it finishes, though. The shutdown is rippling throughout all sectors. GE Aviation announced it was laying off 10 percent of its workers, about 2,600 people. An auto industry trade group, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, said 42 of 44 assembly plants were closed at the end of last week or planning to close because of the coronavirus.

And more layoffs are to come.

Boeing appeared poised to capitalize on the stimulus bill. The struggling aerospace giant, which had lobbied for government aid, signaled its approval of the bill on Wednesday night, though neither the federal government nor the company detailed exactly what it would receive.

THE DETAILS Though Boeing was not named in the text of the bill, the inclusion of $17 billion in loans “for businesses critical to maintaining national security” is intended at least in part for Boeing. Besides being the largest manufacturing exporter in the United States and one of two major commercial airplane makers, Boeing is a major defense and space contractor, making systems for the military and NASA.

Boeing may also be eligible for funds from the larger $454 billion pool of loans. What’s not clear is exactly how much Boeing might receive, or on what terms. On Tuesday, Boeing’s chief executive, David Calhoun, suggested he was not interested in the government taking an equity stake in the company.

Reporting was contributed by David Gelles, Niraj Chokshi, Vindu Goel, Kate Kelly, Peter Eavis, Neil Irwin, Tara Siegel Bernard, Ron Lieber, Clifford Krauss, Ivan Penn, Matt Phillips, Peter S. Goodman, Patricia Cohen, Edmund Lee, Tiffany Hsu, Kevin McKenna, Ben Casselman, Geneva Abdul, Amie Tsang, Carlos Tejada, Alexandra Stevenson, Su-Hyun Lee and Heather Murphy.



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