US stocks fade into the close as doubts around a rescue bill erase gains

Scott Olson/Reuters

US stocks limped into the close on Tuesday, paring earlier gains, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he doesn’t expect another stimulus bill to pass in the next two weeks.

The uncertainty surrounding further economic relief dented optimism around the European Union’s historic 750 billion euro ($US860 billion) stimulus package, which was announced on Tuesday. Stocks in Europe rose to a four-month high on the news.

Shares of technology companies slumped following Monday’s gains, which sent the S&P 500 to its highest level since February and the Nasdaq to another record. Shares of Amazon erased gains from early Tuesday, falling more than 1.5%.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET market close on Tuesday:

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Earnings season continued. Shares of IBM rose early in the session before closing lower after the company reported earnings that beat Wall Street’s expectations for earnings per share.

Coca-Cola gained after reporting profits that beat analyst expectations. Lockheed Martin also climbed after reporting profits and sales that beat expectations and lifting its full-year outlook. Microsoft and Tesla are set to report quarterly earnings on Wednesday.

Oil prices rose, hitting the highest levels since March.West Texas Intermediate crude gained as much as 3.9%, to $US42.40 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose 3.7%, to $US44.89 per barrel, at intraday highs.

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The S&P 500 Energy Index gained more than 6%, the most of any industry, as the sector was lifted by oil. Shares of Occidental climbed as much as 15%, while Exxon Mobil and Chevron each gained more than 5%.

In the US, investors watched talks in Washington D.C. for signs that further coronavirus relief may be coming. Democrats and Republicans face pressure to pass more legislation to aid the economic recovery, but remain split on key issues. In a Tuesday interview with CNBC, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said a second stimulus bill will likely not pass until August.

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