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Stocks End Mixed as Virus Cases Surge; Tech Lifted by AMD-Xilinx

Stocks end mixed Tuesday following the S&P 500's biggest loss in a month. Tech gets a boost from the AMD-Xilinx deal.

Stocks finished mixed Tuesday following the S&P 500's biggest loss in a month after Advanced Micro Devices'  (AMD) - Get Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Report agreement to acquire chipmaking rival Xilinx  (XLNX) - Get Xilinx Inc. Report for $35 billion overshadowed a surge in coronavirus infections.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 222 points, or 0.8%, to 27,463. The S&P 500 slipped 0.3% and the Nasdaq rose 0.64%.

Stocks in the energy, industrial and financial sectors led the Dow and S&P 500 lower.

Xilinx finished up 8.6% to $124.35. AMD was down 4.1% after unveiling the acquisition and reporting third-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street forecasts.

AMD Buys Xilinx for $35 Billion, Posts Better-Than-Expected Profit

Consumer confidence came in worse than forecast in October as the U.S. saw coronavirus infections resurge and Americans worried that the outbreak could weigh on the U.S. economy. Daily U.S. cases of the virus over the past week set a record. 

Merck  (MRK) - Get Merck & Company Inc. Report finished down 1.1% Tuesday after the drugmaker posted third-quarter adjusted earnings and sales that beat analysts’ forecasts. Sales of its drugs and vaccines were higher than expected.

The weakening likelihood of a stimulus agreement from lawmakers in Washington and a surge in the coronavirus in the U.S. and across the globe sent stocks sharply lower Monday.

"We think the ability to get stimulus done is fading each day as we get closer to the U.S. election, but are reminded that volatility is expected to stay as uncertainties surrounding the path of the virus and the outcome of the election continue to weigh on investors’ minds," said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management. 

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"With the U.S. election next week, virus cases rising across the globe, and the lack of an agreement on stimulus in Congress, it appears market participants have shifted toward a risk-off tone."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in a phone call on Monday, again failed to reach agreement on a relief package, according to a Pelosi aide.

Differences between House Democrats and the White House “have narrowed,” but “the more it narrows, the more conditions come up on the other side,” said White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the globe has passed 43.63 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, with deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, at 1,161,422.

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surged to beyond 8.76 million with deaths at 226,383, the most in the world.

Caterpillar  (CAT) - Get Caterpillar Inc. Report posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings even as demand for its industrial equipment slumped from a year earlier amid the pandemic. Caterpillar shares finished 3.2% lower.

3M  (MMM) - Get 3M Company Report posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and sales on surging sales of its health care products and equipment including respirators, as well as strong demand for consumer products like 3M stickies. The shares finished down 3.1%.

Pfizer's  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report third-quarter earnings beat Wall Street estimates and the company narrowed its full-year profit forecast. Pfizer also said it still planned to apply for emergency-use authority for its coronavirus vaccine in late November. The stock slipped 1.3%.

Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report is scheduled to report earnings after the closing bell Tuesday. The stock finished the regular Tuesday session up 1.5%.

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