What happened

Wall Street suffered a crash of historic proportions Monday -- followed by a nearly as historic reprieve on Tuesday. In such a situation, it actually makes a lot of sense that we're seeing shares of industrial stalwarts including Textron (TXT 0.69%), TransDigm (TDG 0.58%), and Wabtec (WAB 0.34%) recover strongly today.

As of Tuesday's close, Textron shares are up 9.9%, TransDigm 9.6%, and Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies 9.5%.

Three colorful arrows racing straight up on a black background

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Textron manufactures everything from prop-driven airplanes and helicopters to unmanned aerial vehicles to military and civilian vehicles. TransDigm is one of the world's biggest suppliers of airplane parts, both in the U.S. and internationally. And Wabtec builds components for both train cars and locomotives, as well as for subway cars and buses.

The success of each of these three industrial powerhouses is tied broadly to the health of the economy. Yesterday, that health seemed in doubt, with The Washington Post warning ominously that the expanding novel coronavirus outbreak could be the thing that tips the global economy -- and the American economy -- into recession. But today, the outlook brightened a bit.

Early in the day, the Trump Administration voiced plans to salvage the sinking economy with a raft of measures, including cutting or suspending payroll taxes to put more money immediately into the hands of consumers. While details are unclear at this point, the fact that the White House sees the problem and is already preparing to "do something" to fix it was apparently enough reassurance for investors to entice them back into the market to "buy something."  

Now what

Now, as for whether today's stock market gains will "stick," or the market resume falling on Wednesday, this probably depends in large part on whether the White House can provide enough specifics to maintain and build on today's renewed confidence -- and whether President Trump can convince Congress that his plan is the right plan to fix the economy.