US stocks open higher as stimulus deal deadline looms

The United States Department of Justice filed a landmark antitrust lawsuit in federal court against Alphabet’s Google.

Wall Street's main indexes gained at the opening bell on Tuesday on hopes that lawmakers in Washington will overcome their differences and pass a critical stimulus aid package to address the coronavirus pandemic [File: Carlo Allegri/Reuters]

Wall Street’s main stock indexes opened higher on Tuesday as investors cling to hopes that Washington will overcome its partisan haggling and pass another historic fiscal stimulus package before the November 3 elections, and as the United States government filed a landmark antitrust suit against search giant Google.

Minutes into the New York trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 104 points or 0.37 percent at 28,2999.95.

The S&P 500 – a gauge for the health of US retirement and college savings reports – was up 0.48 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index was up 0.50 percent.

Democratic leader House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin – the White House’s lead negotiator on stimulus measures – are scheduled to speak again on Tuesday to try and nail down a deal.

On Sunday, Pelosi said that if an agreement can not be reached by Tuesday, a stimulus deal to address the coronavirus pandemic would not happen before the November 3 election.

The pair have been negotiating for weeks but have so far been unable to close the gap between the White House’s latest proposal for a $1.8bn stimulus deal and the $2.2 trillion Democratic plan.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke on the phone for almost an hour on Monday as they “continued to narrow their differences” about a stimulus package, Pelosi’s spokesperson wrote on Twitter.

Senate Republicans are expected to vote on Wednesday on a slimmed-down $500bn coronavirus aid package.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump, who has said several times he’s ready to go bigger than a $1.8bn stimulus package, told Fox News he believed Senate Republicans would back a bigger deal if Pelosi and Mnuchin can find common ground.

With two weeks to go until the US elections, Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden will square off for one final debate on Thursday evening. Biden is ahead in national polls and in several key battleground states.

Also commanding headlines on Tuesday, the US Department of Justice and 11 states filed a landmark antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet’s Google on Tuesday accusing it of abusing its market power to thwart rivals and maintain its dominance in internet searching and advertising.

Google parent company Alphabet was down 1.48 percent in early morning trading in New York.

Earnings are also moving markets on Tuesday.

Shares of Procter & Gamble were up 2.3 percent after the consumer products giant reported better-than-expected earnings as consumers stocked up on cleaning products during the pandemic. P&G also raised its annual forecasts for sales and earnings.

And shares of Netflix were down 0.72 percent as investors await earning from the streaming giant, which is due to report after the bell.

Source: Al Jazeera