Dow futures were pointing to an over 400-point gain at Wednesday's open as optimism about the reopening of the economy builds. Shares of coronavirus crisis-battered airlines and cruise lines led gains in the premarket. Stock markets across Europe soared Wednesday as the European Commission unveiled a nearly $1 billion coronavirus-related stimulus package.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged nearly 530 points, or 2.2.%, on Tuesday. The Dow briefly traded above 25,000 for the first time since early March before closing just below the level. Stocks cut their gains in the final hour of trading after Bloomberg News said the U.S. was considering sanctions on Chinese firms and officials over Beijing's push for a national security law for Hong Kong.
Congress will "probably" have to pass more legislation to mitigate the financial damage from the coronavirus pandemic, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded. The Kentucky Republican said Tuesday that a measure to lift the U.S. economy would have a more narrow scope than the $3 trillion package that House Democrats approved earlier this month. Even as states start to reopen, McConnell said, "We need to make sure we have unemployment insurance properly funded for as long as we need," as tens of millions of people lose paychecks. Congress has passed four bills to respond to the crisis, most recently approving a plan to replenish a small business aid program about a month ago.
In another sign of a possible quick recovery in the housing market, mortgage demand last week was unexpectedly strong. Total applications for home loans rose 9%, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. It's the sixth straight week of gains and a 54% recovery since early April. Buyers were helped by near-record-low mortgage rates. The average 30-year fixed-rate with conforming loan balances of $510,400 or less only slightly ticked up to 3.42%. On Tuesday, the government said newly built homes rose nearly 1% in April, surprisingly strong when considering economists had been expecting a 22% decline.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said retail stores can restart their businesses again Wednesday if they meet county guidelines, NBC Los Angeles reported. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that most counties can begin reopening hair salons and barbershops with increased health modifications.
West Virginia and Arkansas reopened bars as more states continue to lift coronavirus-related restrictions. Michigan also allowed retailers to welcome customers in their stores under certain restrictions. In Ohio, fitness centers and pools with specific health protocols in place reopened.
Walt Disney World Resort executives will submit a reopening proposal Wednesday to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force in Florida. Comcast's Universal Studios Orlando theme park will reopen to the public at reduced capacity next week after getting approval from the Recovery Task Force.
Boeing is expected to announce U.S. job reductions this week after disclosing last month it planned to cut 10% of its worldwide workforce of 160,000 employees, people briefed on the plans and a union official told Reuters. Union officials told The Wall Street Journal that the company will start with about 2,500 voluntary layoffs.
U.S. passenger railroad service Amtrak is seeking a further $1.5 billion bailout and disclosed plans to cut its workforce by up to 20% in the coming budget year. Amtrak, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, received $1 billion in emergency funding from Congress last month.
— Reuters contributed to this report. Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real-time with CNBC's live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.