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Dow jumps nearly 700 points after US extends social distancing policies


New York: US stocks finished noticeably higher with the Dow up nearly 700 points after the country extended measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 690.7 points, or 3.19 per cent, to 22,327.48. The S&P 500 rose 85.18 points, or 3.35 per cent, to 2,626.65. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 271.77 points, or 3.62 per cent, to 7,774.15, Xinhua news agency reported.

All of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors closed higher, with health care and technology up 4.67 per cent and 4.23 per cent, respectively, outpacing the rest.

US President Donald Trump on Sunday extended the national social distancing guidelines through April amid warnings that the death toll from COVID-19 in the country might exceed 100,000.

Trump said that the guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus will be extended to April 30.

The president on Friday signed a 2-trillion-dollar stimulus bill, the largest stimulus package in US history, in an attempt to rescue the economy devastated by COVID-19.

The bill, aimed at cushioning the economy from COVID-19 ravages, will provide small businesses emergency loans, business tax breaks, expanded unemployment benefits, 1,000-dollar-plus direct payments for working Americans, government aid for industries such as airlines and hotels, as well as more support for hospitals and state and local governments.

As of 3 p.m. Eastern Time Monday (1900 GMT), there were more than 153,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, with 2,828 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Wall Street notched impressive gains in the week ending March 27, with the Dow up 12.8 per cent, its strongest one-week gain since 1938. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained 10.3 per cent and 9.1 per cent, respectively, for the week.

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