Stocks finished lower Wednesday after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said reaching an agreement on a stimulus package before Election Day would be difficult.
Wall Street also monitored mixed earnings reports from Bank of America (BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report, Goldman Sachs (GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) Report and Wells Fargo (WFC) - Get Wells Fargo & Company Report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 165 points, or 0.58%, to 28,514, the S&P 500 dropped 0.66% and the Nasdaq was down 0.8%.
Mnuchin said Wednesday that House Democrats and the White House remained far apart on certain issues but have been making progress in other areas.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would schedule a vote on a slimmed-down GOP relief bill for next week.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier this week that a proposed $1.8 trillion aid package from the White House “falls significantly short."
Mnuchin and Pelosi spoke Wednesday morning and plan to speak again Thursday.
"The market’s biggest worry is Washington as it relates to uncertainty surrounding fiscal stimulus," said Roderick von Lipsey, managing director at UBS Private Wealth Management. "With the political tug-of-war over a stimulus package, the markets are waiting to see how much and when."
Bank of America ended down 5.3% Wednesday after posting stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings but fell short on revenue and booked more than $1 billion in provisions for bad loans.
Goldman Sachs finished 0.2% higher after smashing earnings forecasts following a surge in third-quarter trading revenue.
Wells Fargo posted third-quarter earnings that missed analysts' forecasts as low interest rates resulted in a drop in net interest income. The bank, which also saw higher-than-expected pandemic-related operational costs, finished down 6%.
Stocks on Tuesday ended a four-day winning streak as investors were discouraged by Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Report pause of a Covid-19 vaccine trial following an unexplained illness in a patient, and after independent monitors ordered a pause to Eli Lilly's (LLY) - Get Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) Report late-stage trial of antiviral drug remdesivir plus an experimental antibody therapy due to potential safety concerns.