US stocks ended the week mixed on Friday as optimism over
positive economic data was tempered by a soaring US deficit and the growing
realization a new stimulus package is unlikely anytime soon.
Better-than-expected retail sales data and consumer
confidence showed Americans remain willing to spend — for now — and shares
were boosted by positive news about Boeing’s 737 MAX and drugmaker Pfizer.
The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4% to
finished an up-down week at 28,606.31, while the broad-based S&P 500 was
essentially flat, rising just 0.1% to end at 3,483.81.
But declines by industry titans like Amazon, Apple and
Netflix reversed early gains in the tech-rich Nasdaq, which lost 0.4% to close
US retail sales climbed 1.9% in September, triple
expectations, with purchases of cars and parts, clothing and sporting goods
increasing dramatically, according to the Commerce Department report released
before markets opened.
The data was a reassuring sign of the economy’s resilience
after key provisions of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act preventing layoffs and
providing support to consumers expired in recent months.
Democrats and Republicans have been negotiating on another
stimulus package but growing signs that nothing would be approved before the
November 3 presidential election has sent indices closing lower in recent days.
However, separate data from the Federal Reserve showed
industrial production in September declining for the first time in five months,
losing 0.6% as manufacturing and utilities fell.
Peter Cardillo of Spartan capital Securities said that shows
the recovery was losing steam and the economy still needs stimulus.
“The market seems to be holding onto hopes that
eventually we will get a stimulus plan,” he told AFP.
“I still think there is a possibility that we’ll get it
before the elections even though it does not appear that way. It would make
political sense for both parties to come up with a plan.”
There were glimmers of optimism following market close
yesterday with news Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin may yield to some
Democratic demands on COVID-19 testing to get a stimulus deal passed.
Pfizer jumped 3.8% and BioNTech rose 4.1% after announcing
they would seek emergency authorization for their Covid-19 vaccine in late
Boeing rose 1.9% after the director of the European Union’s
aviation safety agency told Bloomberg the grounded 737 MAX aircraft was safe to
fly again and could return to the skies by the end of the year.