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US Stocks End Mostly Higher            10/23 16:04

   U.S. stock indexes are mixed in early trading Friday as Wall Street weighs 
another batch of corporate results from the summer earnings period.

   (AP) -- U.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher Friday, though the S&P 500 
posted its first weekly loss in four weeks.

   The benchmark index eked out a 0.3% gain after another day of wobbly 
trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished with a small loss. Gains in 
communication services, health care and other sectors outweighed a decline in 
technology and energy companies. Treasury yields remained near their highest 
levels since June.

   The indexes bounced between small gains and losses after a sluggish start as 
investors weighed another batch of corporate results from the summer earnings 
period. The up-and-down moves have been a familiar pattern recently as traders 
keep an eye on the ongoing negotiations between Republican and Democractic 
leaders in Washington over more economic aid for the pandemic-stricken economy.

   "It's generally been a little more of a selling market, and a lot of that 
has to do with waiting to see whether or not we get a fiscal stimulus package 
before the election," said Sal Bruno, chief investment officer at IndexIQ. "The 
odds of that are getting lower and lower the closer we get to the election."

   The S&P 500 rose 11.90 points to 3,465.39, it's second straight gain. The 
Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 28.09 points, or 0.1%, to 28,335.57. The 
Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, gained 
42.28 points, or 0.4%, to 11,548.28. The index had been down 0.6%.

   Small company stocks continued to best the rest of the market. The Russell 
2000 index rose 10.25 points, or 0.6%, to 1,640.50. The index ended the week 
with a 0.4% gain, while the major U.S. indexes fell.

   Stocks have been mostly pushing higher this month after giving back some of 
their big gains this year in a sudden September swoon. Before this week, the 
S&P 500 had notched a weekly gain three weeks in a row. It's now up 3% for the 
month heading into the final week of October.

   Investors are hoping for another round of government aid for businesses and 
millions of people who have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. 
The last round of supplemental aid for unemployed Americans expired at the end 
of July.

   While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have 
been negotiating daily this week on a possible aid package. On Thursday, Pelosi 
said that progress is still being made, but any compromise will likely face 
stiff resistance from Republicans in the Senate.

   Wall Street is worried that if an agreement on more economic aid isn't 
reached before the Nov. 3 election, it could leave the matter in limbo should 
there be a protracted delay in sorting out the outcome of the voting.

   "You have political incentives going on right now to try and get something 
done," Bruno said. "Once the election has passed, depending on the outcome, 
maybe some of those political incentives shift. It scrambles the deck quite a 
bit."

   In their debate late Thursday, President Donald Trump and his Democratic 
challenger Joe Biden managed a more substantive exchange than during their 
first raucous clash several weeks ago. There were no major market-moving 
surprises.

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

   Uncertainty over whether Uncle Sam will provide more support for the economy 
was overshadowing solid earnings reports from big companies. While many have 
reported profits for the summer that took a hit from the coronavirus-caused 
recession, their results have been mostly not as bad as feared.

   Barbie maker Mattel jumped 9.6% after its latest earnings blew past 
analysts' forecasts. Capital One Financial gained 1.6% after turning in robust 
results.

   Some companies' results didn't live up to Wall Street's expectations. 
American Express fell 3.6% and chipmaker Intel sank 10.6%, the biggest decline 
in the S&P 500, after reporting weakness in its data center business. Intel's 
drop helped pull the Dow into the red.

   Drugmaker Gilead rose 0.2% after U.S. regulators gave formal approval to its 
antiviral drug remdesivir to treat patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

   Treasury yields dipped but remain near their highest levels since June. The 
10-year Treasury yield slipped to 0.84% from 0.87% late Thursday.

   The recent pickup in bond yields follows recent encouraging data on 
residential construction, homebuying and retail sales. It also suggests bond 
investors are more optimistic that the economy will receive more aid from 
Washington.

   "The fact that (bond yields) have been moving up is not just in support of 
actual data, but that the data will continue getting better moving forward, 
which depends to a large extent on getting a stimulus package," Bruno said.

   Markets in Europe closed higher, and Asian markets mostly rose.

 
 
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