Stock fall, stimulus progress still elusive

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Stocks closed mixed as traders watched Washington lawmakers hold at an impasse over advancing another round of virus-relief measures.

Here’s where markets closed on Friday:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): 3,663.46, down 4.64 points or 0.13%

  • Dow (^DJI): 30,046.37, up 47.11 points or 0.16%

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): 12,377.87, down 27.94 points or 0.23%

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a stopgap spending bill to avoid a government shutdown and also buy more time to negotiate on stimulus.

This comes as Congress remains deeply divided on what the next stimulus bill would look like. Some Senate Republicans including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have balked at the $908 billion proposal that a bipartisan group of lawmakers put forth last week, with disagreements over liability protections for businesses and the scope of state and local aid remaining key sticking points. Democratic leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, have also pushed back against the White House’s $916 billion plan, which differs from the $908 billion plan in part by excluding $300 in weekly augmented unemployment benefits.

Despite the uncertainty, the major stock market indices continue to trade just below their all-time highs.

“It’s been a pretty strange 24-48 hours in many ways,” Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid wrote in his Friday note to clients. “We’ve had a IPO market in the US that’s partying like its 1999 while US jobless claims spiked higher, Covid-19 restrictions mount, US stimulus talks still appear gridlocked, Brexit trade talks are not looking encouraging, and with a sober reminder of the structural problems Europe faces yesterday as the ECB expanded its stimulus package yet further and seemingly locked in negative rates for longer.”

There were, however, some pockets of strength in the market, including Disney (DIS), which closed up 13.6% on the day.

On Thursday evening, Disney revealed that its streaming service had 86.8 million subscribers, which is impressive considering the company’s own expectations were for 60 million to 90 million subscribers by the end of 2024. Management now expect that number to balloon to 230 million to 260 million globally during that period. The company also announced it would raise the price of its Disney+ streaming offering by $1 in the U.S. to $7.99 per Month in March 2021.

Overall, market strategists have been advising client to look past the near-term and focus on the longer-term where Covid-19 is expected to be a thing of the past.

“I’m pretty bullish on the second half of next year, but the trouble is we have to get there,” Robert Dye, Comerica Bank Chief Economist, told Yahoo Finance on Thursday. “As we all know, we’re facing a lot of near-term risks. But I think when we get into the second half of next year, we get the vaccine behind us, we’ve got a lot of consumer optimism, business optimism coming up and a huge amount of pent-up demand to spend out with very low interest rates. And I think that’s going to be a very positive combination.”

1:45 p.m. ET: Government shutdown averted

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a stopgap spending bill to avoid a government shutdown and also buy more time to negotiate on stimulus.

1:27 p.m. ET: Stocks continue to trade lower

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 1:27 p.m. ET Friday:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): 3,644.05, down 24.05 points or 0.66%

  • Dow (^DJI): 29,943.54, down 55.72 points or 0.19%

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): 12,300.01, down 105.98 points or 0.85%

11:27 a.m. ET: Markets are anticipating an earnings recovery

“What I think the market is anticipating is an earnings recovery next year,” Principal’s Seema Shah says. “The question is around timing. We still have a little bit of concern around the beginning of the year… because what’s important is: Are companies going back to normal?”

11:27 a.m. ET: Stocks continue to trade lower

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 11:27 a.m. ET Friday:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): 3,647.7, down 20.4 points or 0.56%

  • Dow (^DJI): 29,993.24, down 66.02 points or 0.22%

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): 12,322.84, down 82.97 points or 0.67%

10:00 a.m. ET: Consumer sentiment improves

The University of Michigan’s preliminary read on consumer sentiment in December reflected improvement, with the headline index climbing to 81.4 from 76.9 in November. Economists expected a slight deterioration to 76.

“Consumer sentiment posted a surprising increase in early December due to a partisan shift in economic prospects,” the Surveys of Consumers’ chief economist Richard Curtin said. “Following Biden’s election, Democrats became much more optimistic, and Republicans much more pessimistic, the opposite of the partisan shift that occurred when Trump was elected.”

It was “surprising that the recent resurgence in covid infections and deaths was overwhelmed by partisanship,” Curtin added. “Most of the early December gain was due to a more favorable long-term outlook for the economy, while year-ahead prospects for the economy as well as personal finances remained unchanged.”

9:32 a.m. ET Friday: Stocks slide

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 9:32 a.m. ET Friday:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): 3,650.70, down 17.4 points or 0.47%

  • Dow (^DJI): 29,882.03, down 117.23 points or 0.39%

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): 12,344.97, down 60.84 points or 0.49%

8:30 a.m. ET: Producer prices are up

According to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, producer prices climbed 0.1% month-over-month in November, which was in line with economists’ expectations. Core prices, which exclude food and energy, increased by 0.1%; this compares to economists’ expectation for a 0.2% rise.

7:32 a.m. ET Friday: Stock futures slide

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:32 a.m. ET Friday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,641.25, down 27.25 points or 0.74%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 29,805.00, down 205.00 points or 0.68%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 12,308.00, down 94.0 0points or 0.76%

6:04 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures hug the flat line

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:04 p.m. ET Thursday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,667.75, down 0.75 points or 0.02%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 30,039.00, up 29 points or 0.1%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 12,386.5, down 15.5 points or 0.12%

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is pictured on April 20, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. - Wall Street opened lower on Monday as traders grappled with a drop in oil prices to 22-year lows as the coronavirus pandemic sapped demand for energy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.8 percent to 23,798.01 about 10 minutes into the trading session.The broad-based S&P 500 had declined 1.3 percent to 2,835.08, while the tech-rich Nasdaq had fallen 0.7 percent to 8,588.66. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is pictured on April 20, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

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