By William Watts and Mark DeCambre
U.S. stocks finished mostly higher Thursday, but pulled back from record intraday highs on a report of distribution issues with Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.
Investors also focused on the revived prospects for another financial aid package from Congress to support the economic recovery and will turn their attention to the monthly employment report Friday morning.
What are major benchmarks doing?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.43% rose 85.73 points, or 0.3%, to 29,969.52, after clinching a new intraday record high of 30,110.88.
The S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.34% fell 2.29 points, or less than 0.1%, to end at 3,666.72, after setting a new intraday peak of 3,682.73.
The Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.96% picked up 27.82 points, or 0.2%, to 12,377.18, booking a new all-time closing high and carving out a record intraday high at 12,439.02 in early action Thursday.
The Dow gained 59.87 points, or 0.2%, to close at 29,883.79.
The S&P 500 rose 6.56 points, or 0.2%, to eke out a second consecutive record close at 3,669.01.
The Nasdaq Composite gave up 5.74 points, a decline of less than 0.1%, to end at 12,349.37.
U.S. stock indexes came off session highs on Thursday after Pfizer Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE +0.93% said it expected to ship only half of the vaccines it had planned to deliver this year. Still, the vaccinemaker expects to roll out more than a billion doses next year.
Pfizer said it ran into supply chain issues , and that some early shipments of raw materials for the vaccines failed to meet standards, according to the Wall Street Journal. The pharmaceutical’s shares fell 1.7%.
Equities initially took a leg higher on Thursday after the U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said reaching a compromise on another coronavirus fiscal package was possible, as long as Democrats moved toward Republican positions.
“Compromise is within reach. We know where we agree. We can do this,” the Kentucky Republican said.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers earlier this week proposed a $908 billion plan, but hopes for a deal were dealt a blow after McConnell indicated he remained in favor of a smaller package near $500 billion.
Democratic leaders, who had previously called for a much bigger package of more than $2 trillion, endorsed the bipartisan proposal on Wednesday. Analysts warned of the potential for disappointment.
Investors have eagerly been awaiting progress toward a deal because the next phase of the economic recovery, and further market gains in 2020 and early next year, hinge on it, analysts say.
“Expectations of a holiday pandemic relief bill are offsetting the immediate pain the coronavirus is having on the economy,” wrote Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a Thursday note.
Still, some remain skeptical.