Stocks on Wall Street drift from small gains to losses

Business News

FILE- People walk by the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Stocks are rising again on Wall Street, and the S&P 500 is ticking closer to its record high as it tries for a fourth straight gain. The S&P 500 was 0.6% higher after the first 30 minutes of Wednesday, Aug. 5, trading, following up on gains in European markets and across much of Asia. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is drifting from small gains to losses on Monday after President Donald Trump announced several stopgap moves to aid the economy, following the collapse of talks on Capitol Hill for a bigger rescue package.

The S&P 500 was down 0.1% in midday trading, reversing an earlier gain, after Trump signed executive orders over the weekend to extend an expired benefit for unemployed workers, among other things. Trump’s moves were more limited than what investors hoped to see from a full rescue bill for the economy, but hopes remain that the White House and Congress can return to talks and find a compromise.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 218 points, or 0.8% at 27,652, as of 11:18 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was down 1%.

Most stocks in the S&P 500 and across Wall Street were higher, led by hotels, cruise operators and airlines. Smaller stocks were also doing better than the rest of the market, with the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks up 1.3%.

But losses for technology stocks were weighing on the market. They have been the year’s biggest winners so far, cruising through much of the pandemic due to their powerful profit growth. But tech stocks began stumbling on Friday amid worries that worsening U.S.-China relations could result in retaliations against the U.S. tech industry.

After excluding tech stocks, which were down 1.3%, the rest of the S&P 500 would be up modestly for the day.

If stocks end the day higher, it would extend the S&P 500’s wining streak to seven days, which would be its longest since the spring of 2019. The rally had carried the S&P 500 all the way back to within 1% of its record, which was set before the pandemic pancaked the economy into recession. It had been down nearly 34% in March.

Investors have been saying the economy needs another big lifeline from Washington, and quickly, after $600 in weekly unemployment benefits for workers from the federal government expired at the end of July. But talks broke apart on Friday, and Trump issued his executive orders on Saturday. Both the White House and congressional Democrats indicated Sunday they wanted to resume negotiations, but no talks were scheduled.

Almost immediately after Trump signed the orders, critics said the moves did not go far enough to support the economy and questioned how they would work.

The economy has shown some signs of improvement since the spring, but it is still struggling. Friday’s jobs report showed a larger-than-expected increase in hiring across the economy during July, but also a slowdown in job growth amid worries that a resurgence in coronavirus counts could force the economy to backtrack.

The impasse on Capitol Hill is just one of several big forces pushing on markets, not even including the rising number of coronavirus counts around the world.

Rising toward the top of the list in recent weeks has been growing antagonism between the United States and China, the world’s largest economies. The latest move in their escalating tensions was China’s announcement of unspecified sanctions against 11 U.S. politicians and heads of organizations promoting democratic causes, including Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

The two sides are scheduled to hold trade talks later this week.

Chinese stocks rose earlier in the morning, along with many other markets around the world.

Stocks in Shanghai climbed 0.8%, and South Korea’s Kospi added 1.5%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong, though, dipped 0.6% after the authorities arrested pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai and some of his associates on suspicion of collusion with foreign powers.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX returned 0.4%, and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.6%. The FTSE 100 in London added 0.6%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady at 0.56%.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 1.4% to $41.79 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard for pricing, added 1.2% to $44.92 per barrel.

Gold added 0.9% to $2,046.50 per ounce.


AP Economics Writer Paul Wiseman and AP Business Writer Elaine Kurtenbach contributed.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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