Global stocks dropped Friday but held on to big weekly gains as House leaders scrambled to ready a vote on an economic rescue package and the U.S. overtook China as the country with the most cases of coronavirus.
A measure of volatility suggested investors remain on edge. The Cboe Volatility Index, a closely watched measure of turbulence in U.S. stocks, jumped to sharply heightened levels.
Investors waiting for government spending measures to help cushion the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic watched as House leaders scrambled to bring back enough legislators to approve a $2 trillion economic rescue package. The bill, which passed the Senate late Wednesday, is the largest economic-relief package in history and would extend aid to many Americans through direct payments and expanded unemployment insurance.
The U.S. overtook China this week as the country with the most coronavirus cases with 85,991 confirmed infections, while fatalities topped 1,296. Hospitals in the New York metro area and Seattle have been overwhelmed despite stringent measures to curtail the contagion.
Investors and business leaders are concerned that emergency measures by the Federal Reserve and U.S. lawmakers, including the much-anticipated stimulus package, may not prevent a sharp U.S. recession that could have global consequences.
Adding to concerns about how long the pandemic may damp economic activity, China said Thursday it would close its borders to nearly all foreigners and drastically slash international flights in a bid to curb the reintroduction of the virus from abroad.