US stocks end mostly down on stimulus stalemate

A trader walks past a digital stock price display outside the New York Stock Exchange. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished mostly lower Friday on disappointment over the lack of progress on a US stimulus Bill, while Disney shares skyrocketed on higher streaming demand.

Major indices concluded a choppy week of trading modestly lower following the session, but remained near all-time highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.2 per cent at 30,046.37.

The broad-based S&P 500 declined 0.1 per cent to 3,663.46, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.3 per cent to 12,377.87.

In Washington, the US Senate approved a one-week budget stopgap that avoids a government shutdown, but the outlook for a long-awaited coronavirus relief package, without which analysts fear a renewed downturn in economic activity, remained uncertain.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has been working to win support for a US$908 billion (S$1.2 trillion) plan that includes new unemployment aid, help for state and local governments and limited liability protections for businesses.

But party leaders remain at loggerheads over the package, as Americans face the worst economic downturn in decades amid the greatest public health crisis in a century.

"The two big factors that pushed the market lower today are the lack of any progress on fiscal stimulus from the US and the disappointing news out of the UK regarding Brexit," said LBBW's Karl Haeling, pointing to sagging hopes for a deal between London and Brussels on a new trade pact.

Among individual stocks, Disney jumped 13.6 per cent after reporting that the company's year-old streaming TV service Disney+ had passed 86.8 million subscribers, beating its "wildest expectations," the company's CEO said.

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The growth in Disney+ has helped offset weakness in other company businesses during the pandemic, especially theme parks.

Lululemon Athletica dropped 6.7 per cent despite reporting higher profits on a 19 per cent rise in comparable sales for the third quarter. The apparel company avoided earnings forecasts amid uncertainty over the pandemic.

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