Stimulus Passage Does Little to Keep Stock Market Afloat

MANHATTAN (CN) — Market losses returned Friday even after the House passed the $2.2 trillion stimulus package.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened to a 3.5% loss, dropping more than 900 points in the late afternoon. By closing bell, the Dow fell to 21,621 points, or about 4% down. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq experienced similar losses.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

The week has largely been positive for U.S. investors, despite bookend losses on Monday and Friday. Markets enjoyed a historic rally on Tuesday and kept rising, even in the face of the historical spike of 3.2 million new unemployment claims reported on Thursday.

The Dow is now up more than 2,600 points for the week, thanks largely to the midweek rally, one of the best since the 1930s.

Despite news that the United States now leads the world in total cases of coronavirus, investors were buoyed by the passage of the stimulus package, the largest government aid package in U.S. history.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi had urged members not to object to a voice vote on the package, since many representatives have not been able to return to the Capitol to debate the bill.

Representative Thomas Massie, R-Ky., attempted to hold that vote up for a 216-member quorum, but his effort was thwarted, to rounds of applause. “Is it too much to ask that the House do its job, just like the Senate did?” Massie asked in an online statement.

The House then immediately passed the stimulus by a voice vote, with only one or two “Nos” echoing through the hall.

Massie, who has a history of being the lone vote against popular bills, received a thrashing by many within his own party for his constitutional objection to the voice vote.

In multiple tweets, President Trump slammed the Tea Party congressman as “a third rate Grandstander” and a “disaster for America, and for the Great State of Kentucky.”

Trump added that Massie “just wants the publicity,” and urged voters to “throw Massie out of Republican party!”

Some Democrats also lambasted Massie.

“Breaking news: Congressman Massie has tested positive for being an asshole,” former Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted. “He must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity. He’s given new meaning to the term #Masshole. (Finally, something the president and I can agree on!)”

The president, who expressed respect for Kerry’s unexpected sense of humor this afternoon, is expected to sign the bill during a 5 p.m. press conference.

Cases of Covid-19, the new strain of coronavirus, have more than doubled in the last week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The virus has affected more than 576,000 and killed more than 26,000 worldwide.

On Thursday, the United States surpassed Italy and China to take the lead in the number of Covid-19 cases. About 94,000 have been infected by the virus in the United States, while 1,400 have died.

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