Stocks have taken flight on the back of hope of a coronavirus treatment and a pledge by the Federal Reserve that it will do whatever it takes to keep the economy from suffering a deep depression in the wake of the pandemic that has rippled across global economies.
The ECB and its head, Christine Lagarde, will provide the latest monetary-policy update at 7:45 a.m. Eastern, followed by a news conference at 8:30 a.m., coming after the Fed pledged to do whatever it takes to help ease the economic pain of shutdown protocols intended to slow the contagion. Investors might look for Lagarde to offer more guidance on what the ECB may do to end dysfunction among European leaders who have thus fair failed to coalesce around a rescue package for embattled parts of the eurozone economy.
On Thursday, Powell emphasized the limits of central banks to tackle the pandemic and pointed to lawmakers to do more to control infections and provide sufficient funding to restart the economy.
An early influx of economic reports may underline the pain ahead for Americans, with initial jobless claims likely rising. First reading on gross domestic product that showed the U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8% annualized pace from the beginning of January to the end of March.
Still, investors have bid up stocks lately, with optimism about corporate reports from Facebook, Microsoft and Tesla late Wednesday, perhaps reflecting more optimism about the domestic and international economy’s eventual recovery from the infectious disease.
Markets have been underpinned by reports of success from Gilead Sciences experimental coronavirus treatment remdesivir, and the pharmaceutical company is likely to offer further clues about its drug when it reports corporate results later Thursday.
In other economic reports, data on personal income and outlays and a reading of employment costs will be released at 8:30 a.m., along with jobless claims. At 9:45 a.m., a report on Chicago-area business activity will be reported by the Institute for Supply Management.