Stocks rally as Trump declares national emergency


Stocks rallied to end a crushing week of losses as President Trump, public health officials and corporate CEOs on Friday afternoon detailed the next phase of the United States's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Friday with a gain of 1,985 points, rising 9.4 percent after it suffered its steepest one-day decline since the 1987 crash on Thursday. The S&P 500 closed with a gain of 9.2 percent, while the Nasdaq composite rose 9.3 percent on the day.

Stocks rose throughout Friday as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sought to strike a bipartisan deal to provide free coronavirus testing and financial support to Americans who are most vulnerable to the impending economic slowdown.

Though Pelosi and Mnuchin failed to strike a deal by the closing bell, the Speaker told reporters Friday afternoon that the House would vote on a Democratic relief package by the end of the day unless talks with the administration produced a viable alternative.

Markets held their gains throughout Friday and quickly accelerated during a press conference held by Trump, administration officials and business leaders at the White House less than an hour before the closing bell.

Trump announced that he would declare a national emergency, allowing state and local governments to tap into federal funding as they scramble to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. More than 1,800 people in the U.S. are confirmed to have contracted the virus, according to data from The New York Times, while more than 30 people have died.

Trump on Friday also announced he would waive interest on all federal student loans to ease the financial burden on Americans with steep liabilities until a date to be determined.

The press conference also included remarks from public health officials on measures to expand coronavirus testing capacity, and retail and health care CEOs on their efforts to aid the government’s response to and the country’s preparation for the pandemic.

Friday’s stock market rally marks what may be a brief interlude in a steady plunge in financial markets. Public health officials have warned that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. is certain to rise quickly and have urged Americans to take drastic measures to slow the spread of the illness.

The resulting decline in consumer spending is likely to cost vulnerable service and gig workers crucial income, and deprive small businesses and the broader economy of essential fuel to support the job market and steady growth.

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