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US stocks mixed as virus impact worsens

AFP  |  New York 

Wall Street stocks were mixed in volatile trading Friday as markets tried to stage a second successive gain despite the mounting economic toll from the coronavirus outbreak.

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 20,023.40, down 0.3 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.7 per cent to 2,393.78, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.9 per cent to 7,205.58.

California on Thursday directed its 40 million residents to stay at home, a landmark move by a major government in the United States as officials move towards a shutdown of most non-essential economic activity to attempt to limit the virus's spread.

A note from Goldman Sachs warned of an "unprecedented surge in layoffs," citing data from US states, and a massive decline in revenues in many industries.

On Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans introduced a USD 1 trillion emergency stimulus package, which includes a provision to give cash to individuals.

But there were signs of skepticism from some lawmakers, with some Republicans reportedly opposed to direct payments and some Democrats questioning bailouts to companies that could lay off workers.

"There are so many needs right now from an individual and business standpoint that we have a hard time believing USD 1 trillion is going to be enough," said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

"Granted, political leaders have said there will be other stimulus measures and they will do 'whatever it takes,' but valuable time is ticking away and is going to make recovery efforts all the more challenging.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 20 2020. 20:24 IST