U.S. Stocks Edge Lower as Investors Eye Stimulus Talks
By Jem Bartholomew
U.S. stocks slipped Thursday, with investors paying close
attention to negotiations in Washington over a fresh stimulus
The S&P 500 dropped 0.6% in morning trading, while the Dow
Jones Industrial Average eased back 0.5%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq
Composite fell about 1%.
Markets have been laser-focused on the prospect of a new wave of
U.S. fiscal stimulus, even as the prospects of a deal being struck
by House Democrats and Senate Republicans before the Nov. 3
election remain unclear.
"It's dominating the headlines and markets are certainly still
paying attention," said Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell
to 787,000 last week, according to data from the Labor Department,
a sign of a pickup in the market. Initial jobless claims had
stabilized between 800,000 and 900,000 since late August,
suggesting the summer's labor market improvement had cooled.
Talks between House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary
Steven Mnuchin are expected to resume Thursday, but there was
increasing talk of a vote after the election.
Tristan Hanson, multiasset fund manager at M&G Investments,
said investors obsessing over a new stimulus package before the
election are "frankly quite myopic, really. It would seem likely
whoever wins that there'll be some form of fiscal stimulus in the
next few months, that seems to be the mood music."
Among individual stocks, Tesla rose 3.1% after the electric-car
maker reported its fifth consecutive quarter of profits after years
Shares of AT&T rose 5.1% after the telecommunications
company reported a third-quarter loss that missed expectations but
revenue that beat forecasts.
Coca-Cola's shares added 1.4% after third-quarter revenue beat
Shares of American Airlines slipped 2% following a third-quarter
decline in revenue.
Align Technology jumped 31% after the maker of Invisalign teeth
aligners reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings. It
said dentist and orthodontist offices were reopening after
Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 was down 0.2%,
while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was about flat after the government set
additional support for companies affected by new coronavirus
Europe has been struggling with a surge of new Covid-19 cases
and fresh restrictions that threaten the region's economic
U.S. existing home sales are expected to rise in September for a
fourth straight month when data is released by the National
Association of Realtors. The U.S. housing market continues to be
propelled by low interest rates.
Investors will also be watching for any surprises when the
president and Democratic nominee Joe Biden meet at 9 p.m. ET for
the final debate before the election.
"If something big happens it could certainly be a big issue in
the markets tomorrow morning," but the likelihood is low, said Mr.
In Asia, stocks fell. Japan's Nikkei index dropped 0.7%, South
Korea's Kospi fell 0.7% and China's Shanghai Composite nudged down
In commodity markets, Brent crude, the international benchmark
for oil, rose about 1% to $42.15 a barrel. Gold prices dropped
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 22, 2020 11:00 ET (15:00 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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