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Wall Street Opens a Tad Higher as Stimulus Drama Drags on; Dow up 125 Pts

Stock MarketsOct 21, 2020 09:50
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By Geoffrey Smith -- U.S. stock markets rose in early trading on Wednesday, in suspended animation ahead of last-ditch talks aimed at sealing agreement on a package of economic support measures ahead of the November 3 elections. 

Talks between House Speaker and Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were set to continue today, beyond Pelosi's self-imposed deadline of Tuesday, after talks that were described as "productive" by her spokesman, according to newswire reports. However, the same reports suggest the two sides are still at least $400 billion apart in what they are willing to accept as a viable package.

By 10:10 AM ET (1410 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 125 points, or 0.4%, at 28,434 points, while the S&P 500 was up 0.5% and the NASDAQ Composite was up 0.7%.

Earlier, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard again called for "targeted fiscal stimulus" to broaden and strengthen an "uncertain" and "uneven" recovery, but she stopped short of hinting at any additional monetary stimulus from the Fed. Her comments came against a backdrop of rising numbers of infections and hospitalizations across the U.S. Similar developments in Europe have already led to the re-imposition of many restrictions on non-essential businesses.

Among early movers, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) stock fell 4.1% after posting lower-than-expected growth in subscriber numbers and earnings after the bell on Tuesday, while Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) stock also fell after disappointing results. 

Chinese remote learning specialist GSX Techedu (NYSE:GSX) fell 25% after being criticized in a new report by Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN) analysts. The company has fought a running battle all year with short sellers who have accused it of fraud. CS didn't repeat those allegations but said it had made "mistakes".

By contrast, Snapchat owner Snap (NYSE:SNAP) saw its stock rise 23% after it rode a wave of increased engagement from a population eager to try new communication channels at a time of enforced separation due to Covid-19. Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) stock also rose 13% as analysts pushed the view that it should benefit from the same secular trends. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stock rose 5.6% and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) stock rose 8.5%.

 Paypal stock also caught the eye, rising 4.5% after it announced it would let users hold, buy and sell Bitcoin in the mobile wallets it offers, one of the first times that a payments provider of such scale has acknowledged demand for the virtual currency. Even so, it will still settle all transactions with the 26 million merchants in its network in fiat currency.


Wall Street Opens a Tad Higher as Stimulus Drama Drags on; Dow up 125 Pts

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