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Illustration by Mike Haddad

Stocks are making modest gains midday Thursday, as investors continue to be optimistic that Congress will be able to pass another round of government aid.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.2%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite are both 0.5% higher at recent check.

Jobless claims came in higher than expected last week, however investors are more attuned to hopes that lawmakers could still come to an agreement about a second round of stimulus, as the clock runs out for many businesses.

“The market’s main focus continues to be the current stimulus negotiations,” writes Tigress Financial Intelligence’s Chief Market Strategist Ivan Feinseth. “Still, caution remains that the recovery pace could slow if the expected stimulus were smaller or came later than expected.”

The Nasdaq’s climb highlights investors’ continued lack of concern about potential actions against tech firms, despite Congress’s report that described these companies as having monopolistic power.

“Our discussions with investors further cement our view that unless there is law and legislative changes to current antitrust laws that the antitrust/breakup momentum will likely result in fines and business model tweaks rather than structural changes to FAANG names,” writes Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, speaking about the cohort that includes Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Amazon.com (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), and Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL).

Among individual stocks, Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) is down 7.1% after its third-quarter profits fell short.

Morgan Stanley (MS) is up 0.5% after saying it will purchase Eaton Vance (EV), up 47.8%.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) is up 2.4% after asking the Food and Drug Administration to approve its Covid-19 treatment.

Write to Teresa Rivas at teresa.rivas@barrons.com