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Dow ends 1.2% higher as new stimulus offsets jobless spike

Wall Street stocks rose Thursday after the Federal Reserve unveiled massive new stimulus that offset news of another huge spike in jobless claims.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 1.2 percent at 23,719.37.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 1.5 percent to end the day at 2,789.82, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.8 percent, closing at 8,153.58.

The Fed announced another series of financing facilities, boosting to a whopping $2.3 trillion its support of the US economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The programs aim to help businesses, households and state and local governments facing a cash crunch as large parts of the economy have been shut down.

The Fed's announcement came as the Labor Department' s latest weekly data showed another 6.6 million workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, taking the three-week total to nearly 17 million.

Adding to the gloom, International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva warned the world faced its most dire economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The International Monetary Fund expects "global growth will turn sharply negative in 2020," Georgieva said, adding that "tremendous uncertainty around the outlook" and the duration of the pandemic.

JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade, said in spite of the terrible unemployment data, investors took heart from the Fed measures and from the tone of Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who predicted the US economy would enjoy a "robust" recovery once its contains the coronavirus.

"We're going to get through this and when we do, people will get back to work pretty quickly," Kinahan said, but he added that he expects more volatility ahead.