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Stimulus Optimism Leads To Continued Strength On Wall Street

wallstreet aug28 09oct20 lt

Stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Friday, extending the upward move seen over the course of the two previous sessions. With the continued advanced, the major averages once again ended the session at their best closing levels in over a month.

The major averages all closed firmly positive, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed its counterparts. While the Nasdaq jumped 158.96 points or 1.4 percent to 11,579.94, the Dow climbed 161.39 points or 0.6 percent to 28,586.90 and the S&P 500 advanced 30.30 points or 0.9 percent to 3,477.13.

For the week, the Nasdaq soared by 4.6 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Dow surged up by 3.8 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Continued optimism about a new stimulus bill contributed to the strength on Wall Street, as traders kept a close eye on the latest developments in Washington.

The major averages showed a notable move to the upside in late morning trading after President Donald Trump suggested he was once again in favor of a broad relief package.

"Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!" Trump tweeted before later telling Rush Limbaugh he would like to see a bigger stimulus package than either the Democrats or Republicans are offering.

Trump's comments came amid reports that the White House was planning to offer a $1.8 trillion package, which is up from the administration's previous $1.6 trillion proposal but still below the $2.2 trillion bill passed by House Democrats.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill later said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had "returned to the table with a proposal that attempted to address some of the concerns Democrats have."

"Of special concern, is the absence of an agreement on a strategic plan to crush the virus," Hammill tweeted. "For this and other provisions, we are still awaiting language from the Administration as negotiations on the overall funding amount continue."

Meanwhile, amid the back-and-forth between the White House and Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a new relief bill is "unlikely" to pass before the elections.

"I'd like to see us rise above [politics] like we did back in March and April, but I think that's unlikely in the next three weeks," McConnell said.

Sector News

Gold stocks moved sharply higher over the course of the session, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 4.9 percent.

The rally by gold stocks came amid a substantial increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for December delivery soaring $31.10 to $1,926.20 an ounce.

Significant strength was also visible among software stocks, as reflected by the 2.3 percent jump the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index. The index ended the session at its best closing level in over a month.

Semiconductor stocks also turned in a strong performance on the day, resulting in a 1.8 percent advance by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.

Xilinx (XLNX) posted a standout gain after a report from the Wall Street Journal said Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is in advanced talks to buy the rival chipmaker in a deal that could be valued at more than $30 billion.

Retail, airline and networking stocks also moved notably higher, while energy stocks bucked the uptrend amid a pullback by the price of crude oil.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both climbed by 0.7 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries fluctuated over the course of the session before closing slightly lower. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, inched up by 1 basis point to 0.775 percent.

Looking Ahead

Developments regarding a new stimulus bill are likely to remain in the spotlight next week, potentially overshadowing reports on consumer and producer price inflation, retail sales and industrial production.

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