NEW YORK, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) — Wall Street’s major averages advanced in the past week as investors looked for clues on additional U.S. coronavirus stimulus.
For the week ending Friday, the Dow rose 3.3 percent, marking its biggest weekly gain since August. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq climbed 3.8 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, posting their best week since July.
The S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index, which is designed to track the performance of the 50 largest Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges by total market cap, logged a weekly rise of 3.8 percent.
The stock market has shown signs of sensitivity to stimulus talks for the week. On Tuesday, U.S. equities sold off sharply when President Donald Trump called off negotiations with Democrats over a stimulus plan. Then, stocks rebounded after Trump urged Congress to approve support for aid to airlines and other stimulus measures.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday continued talks surrounding potential coronavirus relief package.
The two sides have been negotiating for weeks over a follow-up package to combat the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but they remained far apart on how much of a boost to provide and what it should target.
It is not clear whether congressional lawmakers and the Trump administration could bridge their differences and reach an agreement on the relief package before the presidential election on Nov. 3.
U.S. Federal Reserve officials expressed concern that the U.S. economy recovery could falter if Congress failed to approve another round of pandemic relief, according to the minutes of the Fed’s latest policy meeting released Wednesday.
While Fed officials believed that the economy was recovering, they noted that it faced ongoing threats.
“Participants continued to see the uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook as very elevated, with the path of the economy highly dependent on the course of the virus; on how individuals, businesses, and public officials responded to it; and on the effectiveness of public health measures to address it,” said the minutes.
The Fed last month kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the record-low level of near zero and signaled to maintain this target range until at least 2023.
“‘Uncertainty’ seems to be the word du jour for describing the U.S. economic, political, and social situations,” Mitch Zacks, CEO at Zacks Investment Management, said in a note on Saturday.
“The economy has made strong gains off the bottom of the recession, but remains a long way off from pre-pandemic activity,” he said, adding “more stimulus is needed to bridge the country to the vaccine.”
Meanwhile, Wall Street pored through the latest U.S. jobless claims numbers as the nation’s labor market is struggling to claw its way back to pre-pandemic levels.
U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, stood at 840,000 in the week ending Oct. 3, following an upwardly revised 849,000 in the prior week, the Department of Labor reported on Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected first-time claims for unemployment insurance to total 825,000 last week.
“Claims have stabilized at a level consistent with past recessions. The lack of improvement since early August suggest the recovery lost momentum over the course of the third quarter,” Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial, said in a note Thursday.