Stocks

US stocks rise, dollar falls on talk of new stimulus package

Reuters NEW YORK | Updated on November 20, 2020 Published on November 20, 2020

Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to 29,483, S&P 500 gained 14.08 points to 3,581 and the Nasdaq Composite added 103 to 11,904

Stocks rallied while the dollar fell on Thursday, and oil settled lower but rose after hours following a report that US lawmakers may restart negotiations on economic stimulus, which lifted the gloom that had persisted through most of the global day.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had agreed to resume Covid-19 relief talks as cases surge across the country, CNBC reported.

“It's all about the restart of stimulus negotiations,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York, said of the quick shift by markets. “This should be a strong market catalyst and have follow through in Asia” on Friday, Moya added.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 44.81 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 29,483.23, the S&P 500 gained 14.08 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 3,581.87 and the Nasdaq Composite added 103.11 points, or 0.87 per cent, to 11,904.71.

The Dow and S&P had been lower before the news, while tech shares had edged higher as the new lockdowns reinforced expectations of demand for online services.

Oil prices reversed losses and edged higher in after-market trade, after Brent settled down 0.3 per cent at $44.20 per barrel with US crude 0.2 per cent lower at $41.70.

The dollar index fell 0.235 per cent, with the euro up 0.21 per cent to $1.1877.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose 12/32 in price to yield 0.8423 per cent, from 0.882 per cent late on Wednesday.

POLITICAL PRESSURE

Politicians appeared pressured to act after small business owners warned in recent days their companies might not survive new lockdowns being prompted by the current wave of infections.

The report of talks, if confirmed, could prompt investors to price in prospects for a stimulus bill before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, Moya said.

The news helped dispel the dark mood dominating markets earlier in the day.

Stocks had broadly declined and bond prices had risen on a weak reading for US employment, with new Covid-19 restrictions seen possibly stifling economic recovery and tempering optimism about vaccines. The US reported an unexpectedly large rise in jobless claims in the week ended November 14 - 742,000 compared with 711,000 the prior week and forecasts of 707,000 among economists polled by Reuters.

Positive news about possible vaccines had helped push the MSCI World Index to a record high earlier in the week. But investors had pulled back after countries announced record infection rates and tougher lockdowns to curb the virus.

The MSCI benchmark for global equity markets fell 0.45 per cent to 610.11. Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index dropped 0.75 per cent to 1,496.62.

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Published on November 20, 2020
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