Stocks End Mixed as Wall Street's Election Rally Stalls

Stocks finish mixed as the U.S. adds more jobs than expected, the vote count for the White House continues and coronavirus cases spike.
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Stocks finished mixed Friday following the week's post-election rally as the U.S. added more jobs than expected in October, the vote count for the White House continued and coronavirus cases in the country spiked.

Reports said Joe Biden has pulled ahead of President Donald Trump in Georgia and Pennsylvania, key battleground states that could secure the White House for the Democratic challenger.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 66 points, or 0.24%, to 28,323, the S&P 500 eased 0.03%, while the Nasdaq edged up 0.04%.

Despite the tepid results, stocks saw their best weekly performance since April.

For the week the Dow industrials gained 6.9%, the S&P 500 picked up 7.3% and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 9%.

The U.S. added 638,000 new jobs last month, better than economists' expectations, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.9% from 7.9%.

“There is a lot to like in the jobs numbers, and while it may not be the most top of mind for everyone right now, it’s important context once the dust settles on the election,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters Thursday that a slowdown in the labor market was "one of the reasons why" the Fed's response was "so strong and so urgent." He referenced the central bank's bond-purchase increases and its signaling that near-zero interest rates likely will last until at least 2023.

Powell also said the path to recovery for the world's biggest economy largely would depend on the course of the coronavirus pandemic. 

New coronavirus cases in the U.S. on Thursday were 121,200 and more than 1,100 people died from Covid-19, according to The New York Times. The U.S. on Wednesday became the first country to top 100,000 virus infections in a single day.

Biden has taken the vote lead in Pennsylvania over Trump, according to reports. A win there would give the Democrat more than the 270 Electoral College votes needed to claim victory. Biden also had taken a slim lead in Georgia early Friday, reports said.

Republicans seemed set to retain control of the Senate following Tuesday's elections, though votes were still being counted.