Stocks surged as President Trump was announcing at the White House that he would declare a national emergency over the coronavirus, freeing up billions of federal dollars to address that fast-spreading virus. The Dow jumped more than 3% as Trump was speaking.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose hundreds points as Trump, accompanied with CEOs of major businesses like Wal-Mart, Target and others sought to assure Americans that there will be a steady supply of goods for panicked Americans. In just the last few minutes of the markets being opened, the rise in the Dow for the day rose from about 1,100 to nearly 2,000 points.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1,981 points higher, or 9.4%. The S&P 500 was up 9.2% while the Nasdaq Composite surged 9.3%. The averages posted their biggest one-day gain since October 2008.
The major averages hit session highs after Trump announced that 50,000 new coronavirus tests will be available by next week, hitting the largest point gain in history.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump said, “I am officially declaring a national emergency.” He said the presidential directive will make available more than $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Trump said he was also giving Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar emergency authorities to waive federal regulations and laws to give doctors and hospitals “flexibility” in treating patients,” the Associated Press reported.
He also announced a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities, as his administration has come under fire for being too slow in making the test available. The partnership will include drive-thru testing in some locations and an online portal to screen those seeking to get tested.
Still, Trump said that officials don’t want people taking the test unless they have certain symptoms. “It’s totally unnecessary,” Trump said. He added, “This will pass.”
Trump spoke as negotiations continue between the White House and Congress on an aid package, but there was no announcement of a breakthrough, as House Democrats prepare to vote on their own measure Friday.