Stock markets are on course for a fresh sell-off, unwinding two days of recovery, despite the $2trn (£1.7trn) US coronavirus relief scheme clearing its first hurdle.

The package of federal government help for the world’s largest economy to battle disruption caused by COVID-19 overcame last minute Democrat opposition to secure passage in a Senate vote overnight.

The House of Representatives will get its say on Friday. Donald Trump is then expected to sign the Bill into law.

Stock markets had rallied on Tuesday and Wednesday on hopes the measures – the largest programme of support ever initiated – would have a smooth passage as investors eye the prospect of a recession deeper than that caused by the financial crisis in 2008.

The package includes $58bn for the mostly-grounded airline industry – split between grants and loans to cover pay cheques – with companies drawing support unable to cut staff until the end of September or change their labour agreements.

Crisis-hit Boeing, already reeling from the grounding of the 737 MAX, gets $17bn.

It is understood most Americans would qualify for cheques of up to $1,200 each.

Unemployment benefits are also being expanded, with small businesses getting $367bn to help pay their staff as they are forced to stay home.

Stimulus by governments and central banks globally has had a limited effect on supporting investor confidence – with stock market values more than 20% down, on average, ahead of Thursday’s open.

After a jittery finish to trading in the US, the Nikkei in Tokyo was 4.5% down amid falls across Asia.

In London, the FTSE 100 Index was forecast to open almost 2% lower.

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(c) Sky News 2020: Coronavirus: Record $2trn clears Senate hurdle but stocks sink again