The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 4 new highs and 57 new lows.
But the blue-chip index pared the gain to 280.11 points, or 1.3 percent, as Wall Street's two other indexes sputtered.
Stocks fell from the day's highs late in the session after Republican senators raised objections to the unemployment benefits section of the stimulus bill, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders threatened to hold up the legislation unless those objections were dropped.
The stimulus includes a US$500 billion fund to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for direct payments of up to US$3,000 apiece to millions of U.S. families.
Countries that have locked down their populations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus need to use the time to find and attack the virus, the World Health Organization said. It had been up more than 1,300 points before the rally faded.
Oil prices fell despite the massive pending USA economic stimulus package as the coronavirus pandemic hurt US fuel demand, with traders bracing for further declines.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the USA topped 60,000 as of Wednesday noon, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Overall, more than 112,000 have recovered.
With fears of a global recession and corporate defaults running high, and expectations of a continued surge in cases of the illness caused by the new coronavirus in the United States, many investors remained reluctant to call an end to Wall Street's recent, staggering selloff. The Nasdaq lost 33.56 points to 7,384.30.
Powering the Dow's gains was Boeing Co BA.N , which jumped 13.90% after Chief Executive Dave Calhoun said the planemaker expected the 737 MAX jet to return to service by mid-year. Other travel-related stocks also stormed higher to recoup a fraction of their losses. It also said sales are bouncing back in China, where the outbreak has eased and most Nike stores have reopened.
American Airlines AAL.O , Royal Caribbean Cruises RCL.N and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings NCLH.N , among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, jumped between 15% and 21%.
Nike climbed almost 11% after it said stronger online sales in China during the coronavirus outbreak helped it offset plunges in revenue caused by the shutdown of stores across the country. Brent crude, used to price global oils, declined 22 cents to $29.77 per barrel in London. The euro gained to $1.0910 from $1.0880. The Japanese yen weakened 0.24% versus the greenback at 111.51 per dollar.
Oil prices improved 52 cents to $24.53 US a barrel.