Stocks End Mixed as Wall Street Looks Past Trump Demand for Relief Changes

Stocks end mixed after President Donald Trump calls the $900 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief package a 'disgrace.'
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Stocks finished mixed Wednesday even as President Donald Trump criticized the $900 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief package just passed by Congress and demanded higher direct payments to most Americans.

Jobless claims in the U.S. were better than expected last week but held above 800,000 as businesses continued to scale back hiring amid an ongoing surge in Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. 

Consumer spending fell 0.4% in November and personal incomes decreased last month by 1.1%, both more than forecasts.

Reports said Wednesday that Great Britain and the European Union have agreed to the outline of a Brexit trade agreement.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 114 points, or 0.38%, to 30,129, and the S&P 500 edged up 0.07%. 

The tech-heavy Nasdaq, which set an intraday record during Wednesday's session, ended down 0.29% and narrowly missed a record close.

Trump, calling the stimulus bill a "disgrace," urged lawmakers to boost the stimulus checks to most Americans to $2,000 from $600.

The legislation passed both the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities, meaning Congress can override a veto by Trump. The president didn't say whether he would veto the bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi supported increasing the size of the stimulus checks and said the House would try to pass the additional measure during a pro forma session on Thursday.

"The possibility of a failed stimulus deal means almost nothing for the stock market because stocks still rose over the past few months when there was no stimulus and no likelihood of one coming," said David Bahnsen, chief investment officer of  Bahnsen Group, based in Newport Beach, Calif.

"While I believe there are sufficient votes to override a veto from President Trump, I also believe President Trump could actually get what he wants in a revision of the stimulus deal," Bahnsen added.

Meanwhile, Trump vetoed a $740 billion bill setting salaries and funding projects for the Defense Department.

Reports said that because the bill has strong support in Congress  legislators might override the president's veto for the first time. 

Trump objected to a number of provisions in the bill. One was that it requires military bases named for Confederate officers to be renamed. Another was that the bill fails to eliminate internet platforms' immunity regarding the content they publish.

Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report and its German partner BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get Report reached an agreement with the Trump administration to provide 100 million more doses of its recently approved coronavirus vaccine.

The agreement will bring the pair's total vaccine commitment to 200 million, enough to protect just under one-third of the total U.S. population by the end of July. Around 70 million doses will be delivered by June 30, the companies said.

Pfizer shares finished 2% higher at $37.47.