Close Update: Equities Start Week Lower as Bipartisan Stimulus Deal Remains Elusive Ahead of Presidential Election

Monday, October 19, 2020 5:12 PM | MT Newswires

US stocks started the week softer, mostly lower throughout Monday's session despite early gains as the timeframe narrowed for approving a bipartisan economic relief program before the presidential election on Nov. 3.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 1.4% 28,195.42 and the S&P 500 was down by 1.6% to 3,426.92, while the Nasdaq Composite was lower by 1.7% to 11,478.88. Energy, technology and communication services were the steepest decliners, with all stocks seeing red.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while expressing optimism about the prospects for a deal between Republicans and Democrats following further negotiations over the weekend, gave the Trump administration 48 hours ending Tuesday to agree on a package of measures to support the economy, according to media reports. The Wall Street Journal reported Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke Saturday night, but a number of differences remain.

"If they are to get a deal by tomorrow's deadline that was set by Pelosi then we'd likely have to see some traction today, but it's doubtful we will," said Derek Holt, vice president and head of capital markets economics at Scotiabank.

The October National Association of Home Builders'-Wells Fargo housing market index rose to 85 from 83 previously, marking a new all-time high, the group said Monday. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expected the headline to hold at 83.

West Texas Intermediate futures fell 0.5% to $40.69 amid concern a planned increase in oil output by Saudi Arabia and Russia next year may not materialize as per a predetermined schedule set out earlier this year, due largely to a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe and indications that the tide is turning up again in the US.

In earnings news, Snap (SNAP), Netflix (NFLX) and Procter & Gamble (PG) are scheduled to report their financials on Tuesday, while Tesla (TSLA) and Verizon (VZ) will report on Wednesday. AT&T (T) and Coca-Cola (KO) are set to report earnings on Thursday.

In corporate news, BioSpecifics Technologies (BSTC) surged 45% following a deal to be acquired by Endo International (ENDP) for an estimated equity value of about $540 million, or $88.50 per share in cash. Endo shares jumped 13.3%.

Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) on Sunday said it has entered into a strategic partnership with retirement planning annuity provider American Equity Investment Life (AEL), whose shares slumped by 14.9%.

In the precious metals markets, gold was up 0.3% to $1,912.70 an ounce, with silver up 1.2% to $24.70 an ounce.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund rose 0.5% to $28.59 and the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.7% to $12.49. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 1.7% to $39.16 and SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.1% to $178.39. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.7% to $22.58.

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