Stocks close out big­gest weekly gain in 3 months

In­vestors en­cour­aged as pan­demic re­lief talks pro­ceed

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - BUSINESS - By Stan Choe, Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga

Wall Street closed out its best week in three months Fri­day as in­vestors drew en­cour­age­ment from on­go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions on Capi­tol Hill aimed at de­liv­er­ing more aid to the ail­ing U.S. econ­omy.

The S&P 500 rose 0.9%, its third­straight gain. The bench­mark in­dex ended the week with a 3.8% gain, its strong­est rally since early July. The solid fin­ish fol­lows a week­s­long run of mostly shaky trad­ing over wor­ries that Congress and the White House won’t de­liver more sup­port for the econ­omy as it reels from the im­pact of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic and con­cerns that stock prices sim­ply got too high dur­ing the sum­mer.

Much of this week’s fo­cus has been on Washington, where Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump sent mar­kets on a sud­den skid Tues­day af­ter he halted ne­go­ti­a­tions on a sup­port pack­age for the econ­omy un­til af­ter the elec­tion. He ap­peared to change his mind a few hours later, how­ever.

An­don Fri­day, Trump was cheer­lead­ing the prospect of a deal, declar­ing on Twit­ter that talks on a new aid pack­age are “mov­ing along. Go Big!”

“The fact that Trump re­versed course, I think, has given peo­ple op­ti­mism again,” said Randy Fred­er­ick, vice pres­i­dent of trad­ing& de­riv­a­tives at Charles Sch­wab.

The S&P 500 rose 30.31 points to 3,477.14. The Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age gained 161.39 points, or 0.6%, to 28,586.90. The gain nudged the Dow into pos­i­tive ter­ri­tory for the year. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite climbed 158.96 points, or 1.4%, to 11,579.94.

In­vestors have been clam­or­ing for more fed­eral aid since the ex­pi­ra­tion of ex­tra ben­e­fits for laid-off work­ers and other stim­u­lus for the econ­omy that Congress ap­proved ear­lier this year. Economists say the out­look is grim with­out such sup­port, and the chair of the Fed­eral Re­serve has said re­peat­edly it will likely be nec­es­sary.

Still, the prospects for a new deal on more aid have been shaky, es­pe­cially this week.

Trump said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was ne­go­ti­at­ing in bad faith when hecalled off the talks Tues­day. But within a cou­ple of hours, he ap­peared to back­track. He said that he would back more lim­ited pro­grams that would send $1,200 pay­ments to Amer­i­cans and sup­port the air­line in­dus­try and small busi­nesses specif­i­cally.

Pelosi on Thurs­day said she was not in­ter­ested in a stand­alone mea­sure to help air­lines un­less it was ac­com­pa­nied by a broader ef­fort that in­cludes COVID test­ing and other pro­grams Democrats say are needed as part of a na­tional strat­egy to “crush the virus.”

White House eco­nomic ad­viser Lawrence Kud­low told re­porters that “de­vel­op­ments are pos­i­tive” ahead of a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Pelosi and Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin. At the same time, Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch Mc­Connell said he doubts a deal will get done be­fore the elec­tion.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke on the phone for 30 min­utes, but noth­ing con­crete ap­peared to im­me­di­ately emerge from the dis­cus­sion.

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