The clock is winding down on Washington to overcome its partisan differences and pass a new coronavirus relief aid package.
Wall Street’s main stock indexes were mixed on Monday as the clock winds down on Washington to overcome its partisan differences and pass a new round of stimulus measures before the November 3rd United States elections.
After opening higher, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was drifting in and out of positive territory. Around 10:15am in New York (14:15 GMT), the 30-share index was up 13.21 points or 0.05 percent at 28,621.45.
The S&P 500 – a gauge for the health of US retirement and college savings reports – was down 0.02 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index was up 0.03 percent.
Over the weekend, Democratic leader House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would like to see a coronavirus aid package passed before the elections, but said in order for that to happen, a deal would have to be made by Tuesday.
Despite ongoing negotiations, there are still significant differences over the scope of an aid package. House Democrats are pushing for a $2.2 trillion aid deal, while the White House floated a $1.8 trillion package to House Democrats earlier this month. But President Donald Trump has said since last week that he is ready to go higher.
Meanwhile, Republicans in the Senate are set to vote on Tuesday on a stripped-down $500bn stimulus package that includes a lifeline to struggling businesses.
While the Trump administration and lawmakers in Congress haggle, American businesses and households are in desperate need of more financial aid after stimulus programmes passed earlier this year expired over the summer.
Coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns have left millions of Americans out of work and businesses teetering on the edge of bankruptcies. A wave of evictions and foreclosures is expected as pandemic protections on evictions are set to expire by year’s end.
With only 15 days left until the election, the next two weeks are expected to bring more volatility to Wall Street trading.
The main major stock indexes in the US logged slight gains last week – the third in a row for the benchmark S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow.
Last week’s mixed bag of third-quarter earnings may have lifted stocks, but did little to ensure that they would stay up.
Investors are now looking to results from over S&P 500 companies left to report this earnings season. They have also been keeping a close eye on China, where the coronavirus pandemic originated, to gauge the path to economic recovery.
On Monday China reported weaker-than-forecast economic growth for the third quarter. China’s gross domestic product grew 4.9 percent between July and September – a figure that disappointed analysts but is still higher than the second quarter’s 3.2 percent growth.
As for stocks making headlines on Monday: Shares of ConocoPhillips were up 0.118 percent in mid-morning trading in New York on news that the company agreed to buy US shale oil producer Concho Resources Inc for $9.7bn.
The takeover would make ConocoPhillips the largest US independent oil producer, pumping 1.5 million barrels per day.
Shares of Concho Resources Inc up 0.699 percent
The US shale industry has weathered some extreme challenges this year: a historic drop in prices, massive oversupply, hurricanes and heavy debt.
And Boeing’s shares were up 0.19 percent after American Airlines said it would start to fly the jet maker’s 737 MAX planes again by the end of 2020 if the Federal Aviation Administration gives the model a thumbs-up.