Stocks traded mixed Tuesday after President Donald Trump returned to the White House after being hospitalized for Covid-19, and investors remained hopeful Washington would come through with further economic stimulus.
Wall Street also awaited a speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that comes at a critical time for the U.S. economy, which is facing a major wave of job losses and spending slowdowns in the coming months.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 62 points, or 0.22%, to 28,211, the S&P 500 gained 0.08% and the Nasdaq slipped 0.09%.
The Fed has stressed the need for the U.S. to contain the spread of the coronavirus and emphasized further fiscal stimulus from the U.S. government to aid in the recovery. Powell’s speech begins at 10:40 a.m. ET.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Pelosi were set to resume stimulus talks on Tuesday.
Stocks finished higher Monday after Trump said before markets closed that he’d be leaving the hospital, and on optimism over a coronavirus-relief package. The S&P 500 posted its best day in almost four weeks on Monday.
Trump spent less than three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. His medical team said Trump “may not entirely be out of the woods yet” but that he had met or exceeded standards for discharge from the hospital.
Trump created a fresh firestorm after removing his mask when he returned to the White House and telling the American people in a video not to let the coronavirus “dominate you” and “don’t be afraid of it.” Covid-19 has killed more than 210,000 people in the United States.
“I was aghast when he said Covid should not be feared,” William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, told Reuters.
“This is a disease that is killing around a thousand people a day, has torpedoed the economy, put people out of work. This is a virus that should be both respected and feared,” he added.