US Stocks End Mostly Higher 10/23 16:04
U.S. stock indexes are mixed in early trading Friday as Wall Street weighs
another batch of corporate results from the summer earnings period.
(AP) -- U.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher Friday, though the S&P 500
posted its first weekly loss in four weeks.
The benchmark index eked out a 0.3% gain after another day of wobbly
trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished with a small loss. Gains in
communication services, health care and other sectors outweighed a decline in
technology and energy companies. Treasury yields remained near their highest
levels since June.
The indexes bounced between small gains and losses after a sluggish start as
investors weighed another batch of corporate results from the summer earnings
period. The up-and-down moves have been a familiar pattern recently as traders
keep an eye on the ongoing negotiations between Republican and Democractic
leaders in Washington over more economic aid for the pandemic-stricken economy.
"It's generally been a little more of a selling market, and a lot of that
has to do with waiting to see whether or not we get a fiscal stimulus package
before the election," said Sal Bruno, chief investment officer at IndexIQ. "The
odds of that are getting lower and lower the closer we get to the election."
The S&P 500 rose 11.90 points to 3,465.39, it's second straight gain. The
Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 28.09 points, or 0.1%, to 28,335.57. The
Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, gained
42.28 points, or 0.4%, to 11,548.28. The index had been down 0.6%.
Small company stocks continued to best the rest of the market. The Russell
2000 index rose 10.25 points, or 0.6%, to 1,640.50. The index ended the week
with a 0.4% gain, while the major U.S. indexes fell.
Stocks have been mostly pushing higher this month after giving back some of
their big gains this year in a sudden September swoon. Before this week, the
S&P 500 had notched a weekly gain three weeks in a row. It's now up 3% for the
month heading into the final week of October.
Investors are hoping for another round of government aid for businesses and
millions of people who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.
The last round of supplemental aid for unemployed Americans expired at the end
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have
been negotiating daily this week on a possible aid package. On Thursday, Pelosi
said that progress is still being made, but any compromise will likely face
stiff resistance from Republicans in the Senate.
Wall Street is worried that if an agreement on more economic aid isn't
reached before the Nov. 3 election, it could leave the matter in limbo should
there be a protracted delay in sorting out the outcome of the voting.
"You have political incentives going on right now to try and get something
done," Bruno said. "Once the election has passed, depending on the outcome,
maybe some of those political incentives shift. It scrambles the deck quite a
In their debate late Thursday, President Donald Trump and his Democratic
challenger Joe Biden managed a more substantive exchange than during their
first raucous clash several weeks ago. There were no major market-moving
"The final U.S. presidential debate was less chaotic than the first but
offered little new information to inform the result for markets," Stephen Innes
of Axi said in a commentary. "Meanwhile, discussion relevant to the
post-election economic outlook was limited, particularly from President Trump."
Uncertainty over whether Uncle Sam will provide more support for the economy
was overshadowing solid earnings reports from big companies. While many have
reported profits for the summer that took a hit from the coronavirus-caused
recession, their results have been mostly not as bad as feared.
Barbie maker Mattel jumped 9.6% after its latest earnings blew past
analysts' forecasts. Capital One Financial gained 1.6% after turning in robust
Some companies' results didn't live up to Wall Street's expectations.
American Express fell 3.6% and chipmaker Intel sank 10.6%, the biggest decline
in the S&P 500, after reporting weakness in its data center business. Intel's
drop helped pull the Dow into the red.
Drugmaker Gilead rose 0.2% after U.S. regulators gave formal approval to its
antiviral drug remdesivir to treat patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
Treasury yields dipped but remain near their highest levels since June. The
10-year Treasury yield slipped to 0.84% from 0.87% late Thursday.
The recent pickup in bond yields follows recent encouraging data on
residential construction, homebuying and retail sales. It also suggests bond
investors are more optimistic that the economy will receive more aid from
"The fact that (bond yields) have been moving up is not just in support of
actual data, but that the data will continue getting better moving forward,
which depends to a large extent on getting a stimulus package," Bruno said.
Markets in Europe closed higher, and Asian markets mostly rose.