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Wall Street Opens Mixed; Awaiting Stimulus Talks; Dow up 81 Pts

Stock MarketsOct 06, 2020 09:46AM ET
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© Reuters.

By  Geoffrey Smith -- U.S. stock markets opened mixed on Tuesday, pausing for breath after strong gains on Monday in anticipation of a deal on a fresh package of stimulus measures for the economy.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are due to resume negotiations this morning after an hour-long conversation by telephone on Monday. The two sides are still around $600 billion apart in terms of the package's scale, due largely to Democratic pressure for an extension of the $600 weekly unemployment benefit check. 

Pelosi was quoted by newswires early on Tuesday as saying that talks were "progressing slowly".

Speculation has risen that President Donald Trump will move further to get a deal to bolster re-election chances that seem to be slipping. A CNN poll published earlier Tuesday put his challenger Joe Biden nearly 16 points ahead of Trump after their first 'debate' last week.

By 10:10 AM ET (1410 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 81 points, or 0.3%, at 28 229 points. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite, which posted the biggest gains on Monday, were both effectively unchanged..

In addition to news on the fiscal policy front, there is also a speech at 10:40 AM ET (1440 GMT) by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at an economic conference, which will be scanned for hints as to how near (or far) any further help from the central bank could be. The so-called JOLTS job opening survey showed the number of vacancies falling slightly more than expected in September from August, corroborating a picture of a labor market recovery that is starting to lose momentum.

Among individual stocks, a bit of mean-reversion was the order of the day on a light day for news flow. Zoom Video was down 1.6% while Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock was down 1.5% amid reports that it is dropping Sonos (NASDAQ:SONO) products from its stores. Sonos stock was down 4.1%.

By contrast, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) stock rose 0.8% and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) stock rose 0.4%, correcting upwards on the perception that the sell-off of oil and gas stocks over recent weeks has now gone too far. GasBuddy data showed U.S. gasoline consumption at its highest level since Labor Day on Monday.

President Donald Trump's upbeat address on his return to the White House on Monday, in which he promised that vaccines to treat the Covid-19 virus would be arriving "momentarily", has put a spotlight back on the companies developing those drugs. Biontech (NASDAQ:BNTX) stock soared 8,2% but Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) stock fell 0.8% after the EU fast tracked the review process for their experimental drug.

Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) stock rose 2.5%,shrugging off a Reuters report suggesting that the phase 3 trial of its experimental drug could be slowed down by the fact that not enough patients from ethnic minorities had enrolled in it.



Wall Street Opens Mixed; Awaiting Stimulus Talks; Dow up 81 Pts

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