U.S. Stocks Open Lower Ahead of First Trump-Biden Debate
By Anna Hirtenstein
U.S. stocks paused Tuesday ahead of the first debate between
President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden before the
November presidential election.
The S&P 500 ticked down less than 0.1%, suggesting stocks
may struggle for traction. The broad-market index closed up 1.6% on
Monday, rising for the third straight day. The Dow Jones Industrial
Average lost 0.1%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was
Volatility in markets is on the rise with the U.S. election
around the corner. The two candidates will face off at 9 p.m. ET in
Cleveland, Ohio, to discuss their respective records, the
coronavirus pandemic, the economy, race and violence. Other issues
are likely to be their views on mail-in voting, interference by
overseas interests and potential election fraud.
"People will read into this debate for answers to questions
about whether the results of the election will be accepted by
either side," said Tony Dalwood, chief executive of Gresham House
Asset Management. "If there's any uncertainty around this, that
will lead to volatility."
Investors are also continuing to assess the now-dimming
prospects for new additional spending to support the
House Democrats released a $2.2 trillion-bill for a
coronavirus-relief package on Monday evening. House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi is likely to speak to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
about it on Tuesday morning. But the focus in Congress has turned
to the selection of a new Supreme Court justice, analysts said.
"A combination of the situation with the Supreme Court, and
Democrats being unwilling to hand Trump a major fiscal stimulus
just before the election, makes it quite unlikely that we'll see
something passed," said Sebastian Mackay, a multiasset fund manager
Investors are also awaiting a gauge of U.S. consumer confidence
from the Conference Board, which will be out at 10. a.m. ET.
Consumer spending is the biggest driver of economic growth in the
U.S. The latest data could provide some insight into the
sustainability of the recovery in the absence of more government
Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 declined 0.3% as
coronavirus cases continued to rise, raising the risk of more
stringent measures being introduced by governments in the region.
The U.K.'s FTSE 250 index was the worst-performing in Europe,
slipping 0.9%, as investors got increasingly jittery about the
In Asia, major stock benchmarks were mixed by the close of
trading. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.2% and Hong Kong's
Hang Seng Index slipped 0.9%.
The dollar continued to weaken, extending its decline over
recent days. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar
against a basket of currencies, edged down 0.2% to its lowest level
in nearly a week.
In bond markets, the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to
0.650%, from 0.661% on Monday.
Ahead of the opening bell in New York, shares of Abbott
Laboratories rose 2.4% after Mr. Trump said 150 million rapid
coronavirus tests made by the pharmaceutical company would be
shipped across the U.S.
Write to Anna Hirtenstein at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 29, 2020 09:47 ET (13:47 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.