US stocks gain on revived stimulus talks

Workers listen to US President Donald Trump as he speaks at a washing machine factory in Clyde, Ohio.
Workers listen to US President Donald Trump as he speaks at a washing machine factory in Clyde, Ohio.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks snapped a two-session skid on Thursday (Nov 19) as optimism over revived US stimulus talks countered worries about higher coronavirus cases.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.2 per cent at 29,483.23.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.4 per cent to 3,581.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.9 per cent to 11,904.71.

Aides to top US lawmakers met to again discuss passing another spending Bill after months of stalemate on a package to support the coronavirus-ravaged US economy.

That helped shift attention from the coronavirus as the US added more than 170,000 new Covid-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans against travelling for the Thanksgiving holiday next week in light of the worsening outbreak.

Some states have begun to reimpose restrictions, but “Covid-fatigue” and public resistance makes extreme lockdowns unlikely, said economist Joel Naroff.

“We will not be facing anything like what happened in the spring,” Naroff said in a note. 

“Nevertheless, the steps to reduce virus cases, hospitalisations and deaths are likely to cause workers to be laid off, unemployment claims to rise and long-term unemployment, which is already rising, to increase even faster.”

US data was mixed, with jobless claims rising more than expected but existing home sales growing more than estimated.

Among individual companies, Macy’s gained 2 per cent as the retailer reporter a smaller-than-expected loss. But comparable sales fell 21 per cent as Covid-19 continued to dent performance.

General Motors climbed 0.3 per cent as it announced it will boost investment in electric and autonomous vehicle technology by US$7 billion (S$9.4 billion) through mid-decade as it accelerates a technology race with Tesla and other automakers.