U.S. stocks pared most of their gains into the close as a rally in technology companies fizzled out.

The Nasdaq 100 notched its third straight day of losses after earlier climbing about 1 per cent. Dip buyers helped push the S&P 500 higher, with defensive industries such as utilities and consumer staples among the best performers. The dollar rose to the highest level since November 2020, while Treasuries were little changed.

U.S. President Joe Biden and his aides scrambled to break a deadlock among Democrats that has stalled progress on his economic plans as the White House and Congress are staring down deadlines to keep the government running and avoid a default. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell voiced cautious optimism that supply-chain disruptions lifting inflation would ultimately prove temporary. 

“Jitters surrounding elevated levels of inflation and slowing growth are likely to remain for some time,” said Fiona Cincotta, senior financial-markets analyst at City Index. “U.S. debt-ceiling discussions could be in focus amid a quiet economic calendar.”

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The U.S. Treasury is likely to exhaust its ability to borrow as soon as late October, according to the Congressional Budget Office, in the latest warning to lawmakers following their failed efforts to address the debt ceiling this week.

A majority of investors harbor fears of persistently high inflation, with a 20 per cent pullback in stocks seen as more likely than a 20 per cent rally, according to a Citigroup Inc. survey of clients. Though most expected modest gains next year in the S&P 500, price pressures and a policy reversal by the Fed are big risks, according to the survey of more than 90 pension, mutual and hedge funds this month.

A gauge of U.S. pending home sales rebounded in August to a seven-month high as prospective buyers welcomed more attractive pricing and additional inventory. The figures suggest housing activity is firming after retreating from the record-high levels seen last year.

Some corporate highlights:

  • Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is weighing an acquisition of Evolent Health Inc., the health-care group that has been under activist investor pressure to consider a sale, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • Merck & Co. has agreed to buy drugmaker Acceleron Pharma Inc. for US$180 per share, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • Boeing Co. rallied after the aerospace giant was upgraded to outperform at Bernstein on prospects of a travel rebound.
  • Morgan Stanley slumped after Oppenheimer downgraded the shares, citing a lack of upside to its valuation.

Some of the main moves in markets:


  • The S&P 500 rose 0.2 per cent as of 4 p.m. New York time
  • The Nasdaq 100 fell 0.1 per cent
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3 per cent
  • The MSCI World index fell 0.3 per cent


  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.7 per cent
  • The euro fell 0.8 per cent to US$1.1594
  • The British pound fell 0.9 per cent to US$1.3420
  • The Japanese yen fell 0.4 per cent to 111.99 per dollar


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell one basis point to 1.53 per cent
  • Germany’s 10-year yield declined one basis point to -0.21 per cent
  • Britain’s 10-year yield was little changed at 0.99 per cent


  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.9 per cent to US$74.61 a barrel
  • Gold futures fell 0.7 per cent to US$1,725.10 an ounce