- US stocks jumped on Friday as investors cheered a better-than-expected reading of September retail sales.
- American retail spending climbed 1.9% last month, more than double economist estimates. The reading marked the gauge’s fifth straight increase and a sharp bounce from August’s 0.6% gain.
- The encouraging economic data offset dwindling odds of a preelection stimulus deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that he planned to bring only Senate Republicans’ smaller package to a vote, quashing hopes for Democrats’ larger proposal.
- Oil futures pared losses through the day but failed to settle in positive territory. West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 2.2%, to $US40.08 per barrel.
- Watch major indexes update live here.
US equities climbed on Friday after an advance reading of September retail sales showed stronger-than-expected growth.
American retail spending climbed 1.9% last month, handily surpassing the 0.8% estimate from economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The reading marked the fifth straight increase in retail sales since the gauge cratered in April.
The Friday report was also an acceleration from August’s paltry 0.6% uptick, suggesting the bounce-back in consumer spending has more room to run.
Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET market close on Friday:
- S&P 500:3,483.81, up 0.01%
- Dow Jones industrial average: 28,606.31, up 0.4% (112 points)
- Nasdaq composite:11,671.56, down 0.4%
Elsewhere on the economic data front, consumer sentiment climbed in a preliminary October reading. The University of Michigan’s sentiment index rose to 81.2 from 80.4, buoyed by improving expectations for economic growth. Economists expected a reading of 80.5.
The encouraging reports offset gloomy updates on stimulus negotiations. The White House crept closer to a deal with Democrats on Thursday, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying the administration was willing to accept funding for increased COVID-19 testing.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday afternoon that he planned to bring only a smaller bill to a vote, quashing hopes for a package of $US1.8 trillion to $US2.2 trillion sought by the White House and Democrats.
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Mnuchin indicated that President Donald Trump might approach McConnell to push for a larger deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff said. With Election Day on the horizon, investors remain sensitive to any hint of stimulus progress.
“As the prospects of an immediate fiscal relief package dim, the risk is growing that declining income and reduced savings buffers will constrain household spending in coming months, especially among the most vulnerable tranches of the population,” Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics, said in a note.
Health care and utilities stocks outperformed the broad market rally. Energy stocks fared the worst of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors.
Hertz surged after lining up $US1.65 billion in potential financing. The beleaguered car-rental giant has seen its shares trade with outsized volatility through the year amid strong retail-trader interest and bankruptcy risk.
Nikola plunged after its CEO said the truck manufacturer has plans to continue operations on its own should its partnership with General Motors fall through. Negotiations between the two companies are ongoing, though they face a December 3 deadline to ink a deal.
Pfizer jumped after announcing that it would pursue emergency authorization for its coronavirus vaccine candidate as early as next month. The update suggested that a vaccine could be approved before 2021.
Boeing shares gained after European regulators deemed its 737 Max model safe.
Spot gold flirted with its $US1,900-per-ounce support level throughout the session after climbing as high as $US1,914.06. Treasury yields gained, and the US dollar fell slightly against a basket of major currencies.
Oil futures retraced some early losses but still settled down for the day. West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 2.2%, to $US40.08 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell 2.1%, to $US42.27 per barrel, at intraday highs.
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