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Dow Rises 329 Points on Renewed Hope for Stimulus Pact

Stocks rise as Treasury Secretary Mnuchin indicates he expects to reach agreement on a stimulus package with House Speaker Pelosi.

Stock rose Wednesday after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated he expected to agree on a stimulus package with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, overshadowing worries about a contested election following an acrimonious debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

A stronger-than-expected reading on U.S. private payrolls and Chicago PMI also lifted sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 329 points, or 1.2%, to 27,781, the S&P 500 gained 0.83% and the Nasdaq was up 0.74%. 

Stocks, however, still posted their first monthly losses since March.

Mnuchin told CNBC that he would be speaking with Pelosi Wednesday afternoon. He said he hoped by Thursday to reach an  “understanding” with Pelosi on a relief package.

“I say we’re going to give it one more serious try to get this done and I think we’re hopeful that we can get something done,” Mnuchin said. “I think there is a reasonable compromise here.”

But U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Republicans and Democrats were still very far apart on how much to spend on another coronavirus relief package.

As for the debate - which dissolved into little more than a 90-minute shouting match - Trump escalated his efforts to undermine public confidence in the election, saying at one point it was already "rigged" despite no evidence of that.

“This is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen,” Trump said Tuesday night in Cleveland. “We might not know for months because these ballots are going to be all over.”

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He also said he would ask the Supreme Court to "look at” the ballots cast in November.

"Last night was pretty much a nothing burger from a market perspective, other than perhaps suggesting more uncertainty in the weeks ahead, which could continue to drive volatility," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade. 

"Investors would be wise to remember that volatility associated with the election will ultimately be a limited disruption. Investors should consider short-term noise for what it is and stay focused on their long-term goals."

"The first presidential debate doesn't mean anything for markets," said David Bahnsen, chief investment officer of Bahnsen Group in Newport Beach, Calif. "It only served to reinforce the hopes and aspirations and assumptions of the bases of each respective candidate."

The U.S. private sector added 749,000 jobs in September, according to Automatic Data Processing, possibly setting up a stronger-than-expected reading for nonfarm payrolls on Friday. Economists had expected U.S. private employers to add 605,000 jobs to payrolls last month.

The ADP report serves as a precursor to the official U.S. jobs report, which will be released by the Labor Department on Friday.

Chicago PMI, an indication of the health of the manufacturing sector in the Chicago region, jumped to 62.4, higher than consensus estimates of 52.1 and above last month's 51.2. 

Walt Disney  (DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report finished down nearly 1% Wednesday after saying it would significantly downsize its workforce amid a challenging period for its theme parks.

The entertainment and media giant will cut 28,000 employees in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hammered its parks and other lines of business.