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S&P 500 ends lower as investors eye stimulus impasse

Stock MarketsOct 15, 2020 04:55PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange, in New York City

By Noel Randewich

(Reuters) - The S&P 500 ended lower on Thursday after a rise in weekly jobless claims compounded worries about a stalling economic recovery and fading hopes for more fiscal aid before the election.

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose to a two-month high last week, stoking fears the COVID-19 pandemic was inflicting lasting damage to the labor market.

A separate report showed manufacturing activity in New York State fell more than expected in October.

"Going into the fall it will be difficult for unemployment to make a lot of positive headway because of the lack of stimulus," said Christopher C. Grisanti, chief equity strategist, MAI Capital Management in Cleveland.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he is willing to raise his offer of $1.8 trillion for a COVID-19 relief deal with Democrats in Congress, but the idea was shot down by his fellow Republican, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The CBOE volatility index, investors' fear gauge, hit a one-week high and Wall Street's indexes dipped for the third straight day. The S&P 500 is down about 3% from its Sept. 2 record high close.

With less than 20 days until the Nov. 3 election, Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are set to hold dueling prime-time town halls on Thursday instead of their second presidential debate, which was canceled after Trump declined to take part in a virtual matchup.

"More of what moves the market will be the crystallizing of who is going to win the presidency, and how close the Senate races are," said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta.

A Biden presidency, coupled with a Democratic Senate, would likely mean a larger fiscal stimulus plan than what a Republicans Senate would agree to. However, Biden is also widely seen on Wall Street as likely to raise taxes.

Supporting the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) Inc surged 4.8% as the drugstore chain forecast single-digit profit growth in 2021 after reporting a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit.

Focus is also on the quarterly results for corporate America, with expectations for third-quarter earnings improving to an 19% drop from a 25% tumble forecast on July 1, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.07% to end at 28,494.2 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.15% to 3,483.34.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.47% to 11,713.87.

Morgan Stanley (N:MS) rose 1.3% after it beat third-quarter profit estimates, winding up mixed results from major U.S. lenders. Recent bank earnings reports saw those focused on trading clocking big gains, while retail banks took a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The S&P 500 financials index climbed 0.8%, while healthcare index was the worst sector performer, down 0.7%.

The S&P 1500 airlines index <.SPCOMAIR> dipped 1.5% after United Airlines reported a 78% drop in quarterly revenue.

Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:VRTX) lost a fifth of their value after the drug developer discontinued its trial of a protein deficiency disorder treatment.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.09-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.19-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 20 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 59 new highs and 32 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 8.1 billion shares, compared with the 9.6 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

S&P 500 ends lower as investors eye stimulus impasse
 

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Comments (10)
Bill Hoerter
Bill Hoerter Oct 15, 2020 7:43PM ET
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Tired of corupt politicians.Term limits for all. 8. 10 and 12. President, Congressman and Senators.
tyler sy
tyler sy Oct 15, 2020 1:47PM ET
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the market has only gone up since the numbers. market news is such bologna
Ricky Bentley
Ricky Bentley Oct 15, 2020 1:41PM ET
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Rich politician's screwing around with the little peoples lives over stimulus ,now how novel is that
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Oct 15, 2020 1:18PM ET
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Barron tested positive for being the son of an adult film star. That should ensure Donny will continue to get the Evangelical vote....
Michael Paulsen
Michael Paulsen Oct 15, 2020 1:18PM ET
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Market going green and to the moon. Bullish
Delonte Crosby
Delonte Crosby Oct 15, 2020 1:16PM ET
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A surprise, the virus is still out there. It is getting bigger and badder each day. Analyst should have the numbers high at standard of 1m if you thinking worse case.
Bikash Singh
Bikash Singh Oct 15, 2020 12:27PM ET
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Hope with + positive next week sesson
Babu Bagh
Babu Bagh Oct 15, 2020 12:19PM ET
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ultimately again a shock for beggers.. no stimulus
Jay West
Jay West Oct 15, 2020 12:17PM ET
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Such a fear mongering headline. No need for it with all of ridiculous fear that has been sown into peoples hearts. Imagine if authors were sewing seeds of spiritual fruit on such a format. They are reaching the masses with poison rather than the light of Jesus. There is no better time than now to spread the word of God and the trinity of the Church. Worldly possessions will perish, but we may live forever if we accept the Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Rich Morris
Rich Morris Oct 15, 2020 11:48AM ET
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Now thats what i call a headline intended to fuel panic. Facts dont back up the story.
 
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