The Journal Gazette
Friday, October 23, 2020 12:50 pm

Stocks down on Wall Street as more earnings come in

ALEX VEIGA | Associated Press


U.S. stock indexes are modestly lower in midday trading Friday as Wall Street weighs another batch of corporate results from the summer earnings period.

The S&P 500 was down 0.2%, after shedding a slight early gain. The benchmark index is on track for its first weekly loss in four weeks. Losses in technology stocks outweighed small gains in health care and other sectors. Treasury yields remained near their highest levels since June.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 111 points, or 0.4%, to 28,254 as of 11:54 a.m. Fort Wayne time. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, was down 0.6%. European markets were broadly higher.

Stocks have been mostly pushing higher this month after giving back some of their big gains this year in a sudden September swoon. The S&P 500 notched a gain in each of the last three weeks and is up about 2.5% for the month heading into the final week of October.

More recently, trading on Wall Street has been choppy as investors keep an eye on the ongoing negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders in Washington about another round of aid for businesses and millions of people who have lost their jobs during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The last round of supplemental aid for unemployed Americans expired at the end of July.

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been negotiating daily this week on a possible aid package. On Thursday, Pelosi said that progress is still being made, but any compromise will likely face stiff resistance from Republicans in the Senate.

In their debate late Thursday, President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden managed a more substantive exchange than during their first raucous clash several weeks ago. There were no major market-moving surprises.

“The final U.S. presidential debate was less chaotic than the first but offered little new information to inform the result for markets,” Stephen Innes of Axi said in a commentary. “Meanwhile, discussion relevant to the post-election economic outlook was limited, particularly from President Trump.”

Big companies, meanwhile, continue to report profits for the summer that took a hit from the coronavirus-caused recession. But they’re mostly not as bad as feared.

Barbie maker Mattel jumped 12.6% after its latest earnings blew past analysts’ forecasts. Capital One Financial gained 1% after turning in robust results.

Some companies' results didn't live up to Wall Street's expectations. American Express was down 2.7% and chipmaker Intel sank 11%, the biggest decline in the S&P 500.

Drugmaker Gilead rose 1.4% after U.S. regulators gave formal approval to its antiviral drug remdesivir to treat patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Treasury yields dipped but remain near their highest levels since June, reflecting recent encouraging data on residential construction, homebuying and retail sales. The 10-year Treasury yield slipped to 0.85% from 0.87% late Thursday.

Markets in Europe were moving higher. Germany’s DAX gained 0.7%, while the CAC 40 in Paris rose 1% as investors welcomed strong corporate earnings from the likes of automaker Daimler and took in their stride a gloomy economic report. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 1.2% after Japan and the U.K. signed a trade agreement to replace the pact with the EU, which will no longer apply after Britain’s exit from the bloc.

Stock markets in Asia closed mostly higher.

Elaine Kurtenbach of the Associated Press contributed to this story.

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