U.S. stocks opened higher Thursday, even after data showed the ranks of unemployed Americans surged in the past week, signaling that investors may still be optimistic that a $2 trillion stimulus package will help curb the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus outbreak continues to spread in the U.S., where more than 60,000 people have been infected, leaving lawmakers struggling with the economic consequences of the pandemic. The U.S. now trails only China and Italy in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
There’s still a lot of uncertainty to the degree to which the virus disrupts economic activity.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday morning that he expected economic activity to decline “pretty substantially” in the second quarter. The central bank is taking unprecedented action to help ensure economic activity can resume as soon as the coronavirus pandemic is under control, he added in a television interview.