U.S. Stock Market Ticks Up As Fed Offers Emergency Lending Program

Global financial markets have been gyrating for weeks on increasing fears over the coronavirus pandemic.
Global financial markets have been gyrating for weeks on increasing fears over the coronavirus pandemic.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Updated at 11:26 a.m. ET

The Dow Jones Industrial Average recovered slightly on Tuesday, a day after its stunning record plunge, as the White House and Federal Reserve were unveiling massive stimulus measures to help the economy deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

In late-morning trading, the Dow was up about more than 500 points, or 2.7%, and the S&P 500 was up about 4.5%.

The stock market climbed as the Trump administration was expected to propose a stimulus package of $850 billion. In addition, the Federal Reserve announced a special lending program "to support the flow of credit to households and businesses." The loans will be backed by $10 billion from the U.S. Treasury.

"The economic disruption and uncertainty created by COVID-19 has created challenges for the commercial paper market, constraining access to short-term credit for American businesses," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. "By providing short-term credit, the [lending program] will help American businesses manage their finances through this challenging period."

The $850 billion measure — which would be the biggest since the 2008 financial crisis — was expected to include $50 billion to help the U.S. airline industry, which has been battered by travel restrictions and cancellations.

The Fed has also been slashing borrowing costs — moving a key interest rate to near zero on Sunday — and pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into the banking system to keep credit flowing.

Markets have been gyrating for weeks on increasing fears over the pandemic.

From restaurants to airlines, employers have been crushed by a sudden halt in their business as governments order tough measures to keep people apart in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus. A recession is looking more likely by the day.

On Monday, the Dow fell about 13% — its biggest drop since the Black Monday crash of October 1987. The single-day loss of 2,997 points was the most in the Dow's history.

Markets in Asia and Europe were mixed.

NPR's Scott Horsley contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.