Stocks End Down as Congress Wrangles Over Relief Package Details

Stocks tumble as congressional leaders make slow progress on agreeing to a coronavirus relief package.
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Stocks finished lower Friday as congressional leaders made slow progress on agreeing to a stimulus bill and a government spending package ahead of a midnight deadline.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 124 points, or 0.41%, to 30,179, the S&P 500 fell 0.35% and the Nasdaq declined 0.07%.

Each of the three indexes traded at record intraday highs during Friday's session. For the week, the Dow gained 0.4%, the S&P 500 advanced 1.3% for its its fourth positive week in five, and the Nasdaq outperformed with a 3.1% gain.

Stocks had closed at record highs Thursday as another surprise jump in initial jobless claims increased confidence on Wall Street that lawmakers would soon agree to a coronavirus aid bill.

But progress on pandemic relief has been slow as some senators have objected to emerging items in the roughly $900 billion stimulus measure, according to Bloomberg.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a deal "appears to be close at hand," but negotiations likely would drag on through the weekend. 

The Senate was unable to pass a stimulus bill Friday after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) objected to a motion to pass the legislation via the parliamentary tactic of unanimous consent.

The federal government could shut down this weekend as lawmakers work to pass the pandemic-relief bill as part of a government spending package. The deadline is midnight.

A main sticking point, according to Bloomberg, was an effort led by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey to codify the phase-out of Federal Reserve emergency lending facilities at the end of the year.

The U.S. Commerce Department, meanwhile, announced it was blacklisting more than 60 Chinese companies, including China’s top chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International, to "protect U.S. national security."

“This action stems from China’s military-civil fusion doctrine and evidence of activities between SMIC and entities of concern in the Chinese military industrial complex,” the Commerce Department said in a statement. 

Moderna's  (MRNA) - Get Report coronavirus vaccine candidate won support from a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee, paving the way for the second vaccine to combat the Covid-19 pandemic to receive full FDA clearance.

With daily U.S. deaths of 3,656 from Covid-19 setting another grim daily record, the committee voted 20-0 with one abstention to recommend that the FDA grant Moderna’s emergency use authorization.

Formal approval from the FDA could come Friday, meaning close to 6 million doses of the Moderna vaccine would be shipped around the country starting this weekend, The New York Times reported.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report was active Friday, rising to an all-time high, as the electric vehicle company's shares will be added to the S&P 500 index on Monday.