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Stocks End Mixed as Lawmakers Continue Stimulus Talks

Stocks finished mixed as lawmakers continue to negotiate on a U.S. relief package.

Stocks ended mixed Friday as lawmakers continued to negotiate on a relief package with the hope that legislation could be signed before Election Day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 28 points, or 0.1%, to 28,335, the S&P 500 was up 0.34% and the Nasdaq was down 0.37%.

For the week, the Dow industrials eased 0.9%, the S&P 500 was off 0.5% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 1%.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he was hopeful a stimulus deal could be reached “in the next day or so.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been trying to finalize an agreement on details of a nearly $2 trillion stimulus package, though sticking points remained 

Pelosi told MSNBC that President Donald Trump needed to get resistant Republicans to support a relief plan.

“We could do that before the election, if the president wants to,” Pelosi said Friday.

Mnuchin blamed Pelosi for the stalemate.

“We’ve offered compromises,” Mnuchin told reporters at the White House. “The speaker, on a number of issues, is still dug in. If she wants to compromise, there will be a deal.”

Johnson & Johnson's  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report coronavirus vaccine trial, which was halted earlier this month when a patient suffered a stroke, will reportedly resume in the near future.

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An independent committee investigated the case and concluded it was unrelated to the vaccine, the Washington Post reported. The paper cited two people familiar with the trial who spoke on condition of anonymity.

And AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Astrazeneca PLC Sponsored ADR Report, whose own vaccine trial was on hold in the U.S. since early September, also won government approval to continue the Phase 3 trial of its covid -19 vaccine candidate.

Intel  (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report tumbled nearly 11% to $48.20 on Friday after the giant chipmaker posted a surprise drop in data center sales and issued a weak sales forecast for the fourth quarter.

Intel's third-quarter earnings and sales met Wall Street expectations but its Data Center Group reported a revenue drop of 7% to $5.91 billion, missing forecasts of $6.21 billion.

American Express  (AXP) - Get American Express Company Report reported third-quarter earnings of $1.30 a share, below Wall Street estimates of $1.34. But revenue of $8.75 billion topped forecasts.

The credit card and travel services giant noted, however, a steady recovery in current spending volumes as businesses reopen from pandemic lockdowns in key markets around the world.  The company finished down 3.6% to $100.96.

Gilead Sciences  (GILD) - Get Gilead Sciences, Inc. Report ended up 0.2% to $60.79 after the Food and Drug Administration cleared the drugmaker's antiviral remdesivir to treat coronavirus patients who require hospitalization.

The drug, which Gilead markets as Velkury, "is now the first and only approved Covid-19 treatment in the U.S.," the company said.

Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden clashed Thursday evening in their final debate before the election on Nov. 3, though the debate didn't appear to be having much of an effect on equities.

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“The final U.S. presidential debate was less chaotic than the first but offered little new information to inform the result for markets,” said Stephen Innes of Axi. “Meanwhile, discussion relevant to the post-election economic outlook was limited, particularly from President Trump.”