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NEW YORK: Wall Street’s three main stock indexes ended higher, lifted by gains in energy and technology shares. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 188.27 points, or 0.95 per cent, to 20,087.19 on Thursday. The S&P 500 was up 11.29 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 2,409.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 160.73 points, or 2.30 per cent, to 7,150.58, Xinhua reported.

Shares of major US tech shares, including Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet, all closed higher. Eight of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors gained, with energy up 4.57 per cent, leading the advancers. The market movement followed a massive rout in the prior session. The Dow dropped to 19,898.92 on Wednesday, marking its first close below 20,000 since February 2017. The S&P 500 fell to its lowest level since December 2018.

The S&P 500 dropped 7 percent on Wednesday afternoon, triggering the second 15-minute trading halt this week and the fourth within two weeks. Investors continue to gauge Washington’s response to the coronavirus.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a bill to expand paid sick leave, enhance unemployment insurance, and ensure free testing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

At a White House news briefing Tuesday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he is working with lawmakers on a “significant” economic stimulus plan, which includes support measures for small businesses, airlines and hotels, as well as potential cash payments for working Americans.

The Trump administration had proposed a total aid package of $850 billion, but discussions later included spending as much as $1.2 trillion, Bloomberg reported earlier, citing people familiar with the matter. The number of COVID-19 cases in the US has topped 11,000 on Thursday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Earlier this week, Trump said the US economy “may be” heading toward a recession and that the COVID-19 outbreak could last for months. IANS