US stocks drift higher despite fading hopes for stimulus deal

The clock is ticking for Washington to pass a new fiscal aid package before the November 3 election that would inject life into the faltering US economic recovery.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said it is unlikely a new round of coronavirus relief aid will pass Congress before the United States' November 3 election [File: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg]

Wall Street’s main stock indexes were up slightly on Wednesday, as hopes fade for Congress to pass a new round of coronavirus relief aid before the November 3 United States elections.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up just over 96 points or 0.34 percent at 28,410.52 in early morning trading in New York.

The S&P 500 – a gauge for the health of US retirement and college savings reports – was up 0.45 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.68 percent.

President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Fox Business news on Wednesday that talks are progressing on a new round of virus relief aid and the White House and House Democrats both want to see a deal reached within the next 48 hours.

Negotiations between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – the White House’s point person on negotiations – and Democratic leader House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are scheduled to continue on Wednesday.

The White House has floated a $1.8 trillion package, while House Democrats want a $2.2 trillion deal.

Analysts say the promises from both sides that a deal could be imminent are just smoke and mirrors, and that a breakthrough is unlikely at this point.

“Some of the biggest issues remain unresolved and a deal doesn’t seem particularly close,”  Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a Tuesday evening note. “With big differences and little time, it seems unlikely that Pelosi and Mnuchin will reach a deal before the election.”

Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden will take to the stage one final time for Thursday’s presidential debate before the elections. More than 35 million Americans have already cast their ballots in early voting.

In recent weeks, Biden has gained a substantial lead over Trump in several key battleground states. But if 2016 showed the American people anything, it is that polls can be faulty.

Among stocks making headlines on Wednesday, shares of streaming giant Netflix were down 5.3 percent in early morning trading after reporting weaker-than-expected earnings and subscriber gains.

Shares of Snap Inc were up more than 28 percent after the Snapchat messaging app owner beat user growth and earnings forecasts.

And shares of Tesla were up 0.39 percent. Elon Musk’s electrical vehicle maker is scheduled to report its quarterly earnings after the closing bell on Wall Street.

Source: Al Jazeera