Wall Street slips as investors wait for stimulus deal

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes dipped in choppy trading on Wednesday as investors waited for progress in ongoing negotiations related to the coronavirus stimulus package.

FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York City, New York, U.S., June 26, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said it was a “sunny, optimistic morning” in terms of negotiations on a relief bill with House of Representatives’ Democratic leaders.

Talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will continue on Wednesday. The Trump administration has proposed $1.8 trillion in aid, while Democrats are pushing for $2.2 trillion.

The major U.S. stock indexes have traded in a tight range over the past week as investors track progress over stimulus talks.

Wall Street’s fear gauge touched a one-month high earlier on Wednesday as the U.S. election campaign enters its final stretch.

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will face off in their second and final debate on Thursday night where Trump will attempt to change the trajectory of a race that Biden is leading, according to national polls.

“Markets have rallied assuming a Democratic sweep. They think a large stimulus program could be put in place by the Biden administration,” said Bill McMahon, chief investment officer of Active Equity Strategies at Charles Schwab Investment Management.

At 11:19 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 81.54 points, or 0.29%, at 28,227.25, the S&P 500 was down 7.69 points, or 0.22%, at 3,435.43, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 31.46 points, or 0.27%, at 11,485.04.

Snap Inc surged 34.1% after the Snapchat messaging app owner beat user growth and revenue forecasts, as more people signed up to chat with friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results boosted the shares of social media companies Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc, which were up 4.6% and 6.6%, while image sharing company Pinterest Inc gained 10.3%.

Gains in Facebook and a 2.8% rise for Google-parent Alphabet Inc lifted the communication services sector by 1.5%.

Netflix Inc kicked off earnings from the Big Tech club, and was down 6.4% after it missed expectations for subscriber growth as streaming competition increased and live sports returned to television.

Of the 66 S&P 500 firms that have reported third-quarter results, 86.4% have topped expectations for earnings, according to IBES Refinitiv data.

The U.S. central bank’s “Beige Book” report, a snapshot of the economy gleaned from discussions with business contacts, is scheduled to be released at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT).

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.65-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.67-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 19 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 43 new highs and 19 new lows.

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