US stocks open higher ahead of Senate COVID-19 vote

US stocks open higher ahead of Senate vote on COVID-19 stimulus bill

A man wears a protective mask as he walks on Wall Street during the coronavirus outbreak in New York. Credit Reuters File Photo

Wall Street stocks jumped early Wednesday as markets awaited a vote on a $2 trillion package agreed by congressional leaders to boost the US economy ravaged by the coronavirus outbreak.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 2.6 percent, or around 540 points, at 21,244.77.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.4 percent to 2,482.04, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.0 percent to 7,489.38.

On Tuesday, the Dow soared 11.4 percent, notching its biggest one-day percentage gain since 1933 and recovering some losses due to the virus.

After an acrimonious partisan debate doomed earlier efforts, Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate reached agreement on an unprecedently large relief package that includes an extension of unemployment benefits, small business loans and some $130 billion for health care infrastructure.

The bill was expected to pass the Senate as soon as Wednesday, but it was unclear whether the House of Representatives would be able to pass the proposal unanimously, potentially delaying enactment.

The positive news on stimulus came as the coronavirus caseload in the United States continues to soar, with more than 25,600 cases in New York State alone.

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