The interventions failed to quell the uncertainty as stocks rocked back and forth. Investors are struggling to puzzle their way through the daily medical, financial and government briefs around the coronavirus.
The Dow Jones industrial average held on to a nearly 190-point gain, just shy of 1 percent, to close at 20,087. A rollicking session on Wednesday had shaved more than 1,300 points off the blue-chip index, erasing nearly all Trump-era gains and pushing the benchmark below 20,000 points for the first time in three years. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index inched up 0.5 percent, to close around 2,409. Technology stocks — which had powered the market until the recent retreat — breathed some gains into the Nasdaq composite. The Nasdaq surged more than 2.3 percent. All three major U.S. indexes are in a bear market.
Most of the S&P sectors were positive, with consumer discretionary, energy and technology among the winners. Energy got a boost from a record jump in oil prices, which spiked more than 25 percent. The surge arrived one day after oil prices slid to an 18-year low amid continued uncertainty over the duration of the coronavirus shutdown.