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Oct. 22, 2020, 4:23 p.m. EDT

Dow ends with 150-point gain in choppy session after Pelosi gives lift to hopes for coronavirus relief package

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By Sunny Oh and Mark DeCambre

U.S. stock indexes finished higher Thursday as talks in Washington on a new fresh coronavirus fiscal relief package dragged on, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats and the Trump administration were on the verge of an agreement.

Concern about another wave of European and American coronavirus cases and uncertainty about the outcome of the Nov. 3 U.S. elections with the final presidential debate due Thursday night were also weighing on investors.

What are major benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.12% rose 152.84 points, or 0.5%, to finish at 28,363.66, while the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.56% closed at 3,453.49, a gain of 17.93 points, or 0.5% . The Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.22% /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.56% , meanwhile, rose 21.31 points, or 0.2%, to end at 11,506.01.

Meanwhile, the small-capitalization Russell 2000 index /zigman2/quotes/210598147/delayed RUT +1.85% gained 1.6%.

The Dow /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.12% on Wednesday ended a topsy-turvy session with a loss of 97.97 points, or 0.3%, at 28,210.82, while the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.56% dropped 7.56 points, or 0.2%, to close at 3,435.56. The Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.22% Index finished at 11,484.94, down 31.80 points, or 0.3%.

What’s driving the market?

Talks between Congress and the White House have captivated investors over the past few weeks, sparking debate over whether the economic recovery would lose momentum in the fourth quarter without another round of aid from Washington.

“I think the market is just frustrated with the back-and-forth,” in Washington around additional aid, Joe Saluzzi, partner and co-head of Equity Trading at Themis Trading, told MarketWatch.

Negotiations between House Democrats and the Trump administration on a deal had been seen making progress, with President Donald Trump pushing for a large deal, but Senate Republicans have resisted calls for a $1.9 trillion-plus package.

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said progress was being made in negotiations with the White House but cautioned that a bill may still take longer write and get passed by Congress.

“If we can resolve some of these things in the next few days, it’ll take a while to write the bill,” Pelosi said, according to reports. “We can do something great, and I’m still optimistic that we can do that,” she said.

Progress on “stimulus talks is what the market is looking for,” said Saluzzi, who described the market has very fixated on headlines lately.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to commit to a pre-election vote on Thursday.

Read: McConnell declines to commit to a pre-election vote on possible fiscal stimulus deal

For some, the timing may not matter much, with market participants taking comfort that an aid package will be forthcoming either before or after the election.

“You have this gap between what Pelosi is saying and what McConnell is saying, and that’s where the market is. Investors are looking at this juxtaposition and saying we are not going to get something before the election, but we are at least going to get something,” said Noel Dixon, a macro strategist at State Street.

/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
29,591.27
+327.79 +1.12%
Volume: 389.02M
Nov. 23, 2020 5:02p
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,577.59
+20.05 +0.56%
Volume: 2.51B
Nov. 23, 2020 5:02p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
11,880.63
+25.66 +0.22%
Volume: 5.03M
Nov. 23, 2020 5:16p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,577.59
+20.05 +0.56%
Volume: 2.51B
Nov. 23, 2020 5:02p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598147/delayed
US : US Composite
1,818.30
+32.96 +1.85%
Volume: 1.99M
Nov. 23, 2020 4:30p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
29,591.27
+327.79 +1.12%
Volume: 389.02M
Nov. 23, 2020 5:02p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,577.59
+20.05 +0.56%
Volume: 2.51B
Nov. 23, 2020 5:02p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
11,880.63
+25.66 +0.22%
Volume: 5.03M
Nov. 23, 2020 5:16p
loading...
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