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Stocks roar back on hopes for government's virus plan

People walk in the rain as they pass the the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, March 13, 2020. European stocks rose Friday and Wall Street was set to gain on the open after turbulent trading in Asia and a day after the market's worst session in over three decades.  (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
People walk in the rain as they pass the the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, March 13, 2020. European stocks rose Friday and Wall Street was set to gain on the open after turbulent trading in Asia and a day after the market's worst session in over three decades. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Wall Street roared back from its worst day in 30 years Friday with a broad rally that sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average nearly 2,000 points higher — its biggest point gain ever — after President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency.

Fueled by a late-day surge while Trump was speaking, the Dow saw its largest percentage gain since 2008. The rally recouped many of the losses from a day earlier, when the index experienced its worst slide since the Black Monday crash of 1987 and European indexes had one of the worst drops on record. The major indexes each closed with gains of more than 9%.

The session capped a dizzying week on Wall Street, with wild swings driven largely by uncertainty over how much damage the coronavirus would cause to the global economy. By Thursday, the Dow had suffered two drops of more than 2,000 points and the longest-ever bull market had ended.

Then on Friday stocks rallied, shooting sharply upward in the last half-hour of trading as investors appeared to gain confidence that the Trump administration has a plan to combat the outbreak from both a health care and economic perspective.

Despite Friday's pickup, the market still ended the week with its second-worst weekly loss in the past 10 years. All the major indexes are in what traders call a bear market.

Investors have been clamoring for strong action from the U.S. government to combat the outbreak's effect on businesses and workers. News that the White House and Congress were close to announcing an agreement on a package to provide sick pay, free testing and other resources helped boost the market in the morning.

“We’re finally getting that a little late to the party, but it’s better to be late to the party then not to come to the party,” said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial. He said the stimulus plan should help cushion the financial effects on people and businesses.

Trump spoke to the nation twice this week about the coronavirus, and the stock market had decidedly different reactions each time.