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Sep 30, 2020

U.S. stocks gain on stimulus hopes in choppy trading

BNN Bloomberg's afternoon market update: September 30, 2020

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U.S. stocks finished higher after a volatile session that saw traders whipsawed by reports on the outlook for a new round of government stimulus.

The S&P 500 Index climbed 0.8 per cent, paring gains of as much as 1.7 per cent after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there had been no agreement on pandemic relief. Speculation a deal was in the works kept the benchmark at a two-week high. An exchange-traded fund tracking the S&P 500 fell 0.2 per cent in after-hours trading as Democrats postponed a vote on their proposal with negotiations continuing.

Portfolio rebalancing tied to the end of the month added to volatility, and global investors are also keeping an eye on news about coronavirus vaccines amid the latest moves in Washington. New Jersey reported an uptick in the statewide positivity rate to the highest in months, while Spain ordered extra restrictions in Madrid to curb spread in Europe’s hardest-hit nation.

“As coronavirus continues to linger and certain areas of the economy are still shut down, you need some sort of stimulus package,” said Andrea Roemhildt, investment manager at Aware Asset Management. “The market is just waiting for a signal that this might actually get done.”

The S&P 500 posted an 8.5 per cent gain this quarter, a slowdown from the previous three months’ 20 per cent leap but still an impressive return considering the economic havoc wrought by the coronavirus. The benchmark index was down more than 6 per cent from an all-time high reached on Sept. 2.

Treasury yields ticked higher Wednesday while the dollar weakened. Emerging-market stocks gained. Europe’s benchmark index slipped.

Elsewhere, equities slumped in Asia. Crude oil advanced toward US$40 a barrel amid optimism over shrinking U.S. supplies.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The S&P 500 Index rose 0.8 per cent as of 4 p.m. New York time.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.1 per cent.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index decreased 0.1 per cent.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.3 per cent.
The British pound rose 0.4 per cent to US$1.2917.
The euro slumped 0.2 per cent to US$1.1726.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose four basis points to 0.69 per cent.
Germany’s 10-year yield rose two basis points to -0.52 per cent.
Britain’s 10-year yield climbed five basis points to 0.23 per cent.
New Zealand’s 10-year yield climbed five basis points to 0.485 per cent.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.9 per cent to US$40.02 a barrel.
Gold weakened 0.5 per cent to US$1,888.65 an ounce.
The Bloomberg Commodities Index rose 0.8 per cent.

 

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