© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man wears a protective mask as he walks on Wall Street during the coronavirus outbreak in New York
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The and Nasdaq were lower on Friday, as uncertainty over fresh economic stimulus dented confidence, although strong gains from Walt Disney (NYSE:) helped keep the Dow Industrials afloat.
The U.S. Senate, facing a midnight deadline on Friday, unanimously approved a one-week extension of federal funding to avoid a government shutdown and to provide more time for separate negotiations on COVID-19 relief and an overarching spending bill.
Lawmakers have wrangled for months over a fresh fiscal stimulus package to support an economy battered by coronavirus lockdowns. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday suspended indoor dining in New York City, effective Monday.
“It’s like holiday shopping, you think you’ve got time and the next thing you know it’s the day before the holiday and you’ve got to hammer it out and get it done,” said Tom Hainlin, global investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management’s Ascent Private Wealth Group in Minneapolis.
“The base case is that they are going to get it done, the base case is we are going to get some stimulus package put through and because we have some of the forbearance things falling off at the end of the year, there is a shot clock on these.”
While recent data has showed a faltering recovery in the labor market, a survey from the University of Michigan on Friday showed consumer sentiment improved more than expected in November, while a gauge of inflation rose moderately.
The rose 20.27 points, or 0.07%, to 30,019.53, the S&P 500 lost 11.01 points, or 0.30%, to 3,657.09 and the dropped 59.74 points, or 0.48%, to 12,346.07.
A 15.61% surge in Walt Disney Co shares helped push the Dow slightly higher, as the media company announced a heavy slate of new shows for its streaming services and said it expects as many as 350 million global subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024. The jump put the stock on track for its biggest one-day percentage gain since October 2008.
With daily coronavirus death tolls at alarming levels, fresh business restrictions in many U.S. states and increasing layoffs, investors are counting on more fiscal relief to sustain a nascent economic recovery as most government aid has dried up. Another 2,902 U.S. deaths were reported on Thursday, a day after a record 3,253 people died, a pace projected to continue for the next two to three months even with a rapid rollout of inoculations.
However, conflicting headlines on progress toward a stimulus deal have kept investors cautious, even as optimism over a working vaccine pushed Wall Street’s main indexes to record highs this week.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday raised the possibility of stimulus negotiations dragging on through Christmas.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue an emergency use authorization for Pfizer Inc (NYSE:)’s COVID-19 vaccine later in the day, the New York Times reported.
The U.S. drugmaker’s shares, however, gave up early gains and fell 1.17%.
Qualcomm (NASDAQ:) Inc slumped 7.21% and was among the top decliners on the benchmark S&P 500, following a Bloomberg News report that Apple Inc (NASDAQ:) has started building its own cellular modem for future devices, a move that would replace components from the chipmaker.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.60-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.55-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 10 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 155 new highs and 13 new lows.