U.S. Stocks: S&P 500 steadies as stimulus hopes offset jump in jobless claims

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Updated: December 10, 2020 9:49 PM

At 10:40 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 47.72 points, or 0.16%, to 30,021.09, the S&P 500 gained 0.70 points, or 0.02% to 3,673.52 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 69.33 points, or 0.56% to 12,408.28.

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Wall Street’s main indexes recovered from early losses on Thursday as signs of progress in fiscal stimulus talks overshadowed data showing an increase in jobless claims due to coronavirus-related business restrictions.

The S&P 500 was little changed after falling as much as 0.7%, as Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said talks between Republican And Democratic senators were making “a lot of progress” with more discussions expected in the day.”

Market is very fixated in anticipation that some type of deal can be made fairly soon,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial in North Carolina.

The three main indexes opened lower after Labor Department data showed a higher-than-expected rise in weekly unemployment claims.

The faltering labor market recovery and the recent surge in COVID-19 infections have piled pressure on policymakers to come up with another rescue package, as most of the financial aid from the government has dried up.

U.S. lawmakers approved a stopgap government funding bill on Wednesday that would provide more time for negotiations, but an agreement has remained elusive due to disagreements over aid to state and local governments and business liability protections.

At 10:40 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 47.72 points, or 0.16%, to 30,021.09, the S&P 500 gained 0.70 points, or 0.02% to 3,673.52 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 69.33 points, or 0.56% to 12,408.28.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower. The energy index jumped about 3%, tracking a rise in oil prices.

Pfizer Inc’s shares edged higher ahead of a meeting of outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later in the day, to decide whether to recommend that the agency authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.

Some officials said vaccinations could begin as soon as this weekend if the FDA consented.

Home rental firm Airbnb Inc said on Wednesday it sold shares in its initial public offering at $68 apiece to raise around $3.5 billion.

Airbnb’s IPO is the biggest by a U.S. operating company in 2020 and its shares are scheduled to start trading on Nasdaq on Thursday.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.1-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.3-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted five new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 118 new highs and 13 new lows.

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