Oct 20, 2020

Wall Street Closing Report: Dow closes more than 100 points higher as Pelosi says she is 'optimistic' about possible aid deal


Fred Imbert, Jesse Pound

Stocks rose on Tuesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled Democrats and the White House were making progress in negotiations for a new fiscal stimulus deal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 307 points higher, or 1.1%. The 30-stock average was briefly up 300 points. The S&P 500 gained 1.2% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.1%.

On Tuesday, Pelosi, D-Calif., said both sides had made progress in their negotiations.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchincontinued to narrow their differences” in a Monday afternoon phone call to discuss another stimulus package, according to Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.

On Tuesday, Pelosi said both sides had made progress in their negotiations. “Hopefully by the end of the day, we’ll know where we all are,” Pelosi told Bloomberg TV. “But I’m optimistic.”

Pelosi gave the Trump administration 48 hours on Sunday to reach a deal on new aid before the Nov. 3 election. However, she said on Tuesday about the 48-hour deadline: “It isn’t that this day was a day that we would have a deal, it was a day that we would have our terms on the table to be able to go to the next step.”

“Over the next 24 hours ... arguably the most important issue to watch for is a resolution on fiscal stimulus,” said Tom Lee, founder and head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, in a note. “While markets might see this as less significant (since a deal is likely post-election day), it is a big deal for those Americans with expiring benefits. So, we think it is very important for Washington to get a deal done.”

Stimulus negotiations have hung over the market for months after the main provisions from the CARES Act expired at the end of July. Since then, job growth has slowed but consumer spending has continued to recover. However, some indicators have shown that savings built up by the massive economic relief package are starting to run out.

House Democrats have passed two additional relief bills that found no traction in the Republican-controlled Senate, which is moving to vote on a $500 billion targeted relief package later this week. The most recent bill from House Democrats was $2.2 trillion, while the counteroffers from the White House have crept up to about $1.9 trillion in recent weeks.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) participates in a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 1, 2020.

Erin Scott | Reuters

Andrew Smith, the chief investment strategist at Delos Capital Advisors, said that failing to pass a stimulus deal this week would not send the economy back into a recession but would make the recovery tougher.

“We don’t believe that the new business cycle necessarily will be deterred if a stimulus deal doesn’t get done, but we do believe, if a stimulus deal on the fiscal side gets done, that will help propel the economy into that new business cycle a lot quicker than what we expect so far,” Smith said.

Stocks also rose after the Moderna CEO told the Wall Street Journal that the company’s coronavirus vaccine could be available for emergency use in December if it gets positive results from its interim trial in November.

Shares of Carnival Corp. and American Airlines rose 2.3% and 1.4%, respectively. Procter & Gamble shares climbed 0.5% after the company reported sales growth of 9% for the previous quarter. The company’s earnings per share also topped analyst expectations.

Travelers, another Dow component, jumped 4.4% on the back of better-than-expected quarterly results. The company posted a profit of $3.12 per share on revenue of $7.77 billion. Analysts polled by Refinitiv expected earnings of $3.03 per share on sales of $7.55 billion.

The stock market suffered a broad decline during Monday’s session, with the major averages dropping more than 1% each. All 11 S&P sectors finished in the red. The slump marked the fourth down day in five for the Dow and the S&P 500, while it was the fifth-straight negative session for the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

—CNBC’s Eustance Huang contributed to this report.

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