US stocks close slightly lower as coronavirus stimulus talks continue

Negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are making progress

Capitol building
With just two weeks until the US election, President Trump signaled a willingness to go along with more than $2.2 trillion in new COVID-19 relief

4:05 pm: US equities fall as aid talks advance 

US stocks closed slightly lower as Democrats and the White House advanced their negotiations for a new coronavirus stimulus package before the November 3 election. 

On the day, the DJIA fell 98 points, or 0.35%, to 28,210. The S&P 500 dropped 0.22% to 3,435 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq dipped 0.28% to 11,484.

12:20 pm: Wall Street gives back its early gains

The Dow went from up nearly 150 in the opening hours of trading to down 37, 0.1%, to 28,271.2. The Nasdaq lost 13 points, 0.1%, to 11,503.2, and the S&P 500 slipped less than a point to 3,442.4.

As ever, traders are watching for a coronavirus stimulus deal between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNBC that the two sides made “good progress” in talks Tuesday but “still have a ways to go” to strike an agreement.

In a letter to Democrats published Tuesday, Pelosi wrote, "Our conversation provided more clarity and common ground as we move closer to an agreement. Today’s deadline enabled us to see that decisions could be reached and language could be exchanged, demonstrating that both sides are serious about finding a compromise."

10:30 am: Proactive North America headlines:

American Battery Metals Corporation (OTCQB:ABML) secures $1.35M in preferred stock offering; pays off convertible notes

Mandalay Resources Corporation (TSE:MND) (OTCQB:MNDJF) hails recent drill results from Youle deposit in Australia, which will add potential mine-life

BioLargo Inc (OTCQB:BLGO) says BLEST subsidiary awarded contract to assist in the reconfiguration of Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) systems at a large chemicals plant

Biocept Inc (NASDAQ:BIOC), announces appointment of molecular diagnostics industry veteran, Samuel D. Riccitelli to its board of directors

NexTech AR Solutions Corp's (OTCQB:NEXCF) (CSE:NTAR) (FRA:N29) live music performance app AiRShow to introduce ticketing mechanism

Fury Gold Mines Ltd (TSE:FURY) (NYSEAMERICAN:FURY) appoints former Goldcorp and Deloitte veteran Lynsey Sherry as chief financial officer

Loop Insights Inc (CVE:MTRX) (OTCMKTS:RACMF) to present to Fortune 500 executives at Shoptalk 2020

ImagineAR Inc (CSE:IP) (OTCQB:IPNFF) is launching its first-ever mobile WebAR retail project in North America

Heritage Cannabis Holdings Corp (CSE:CANN) (OTCQX:HERTF)  appoints two new vice presidents for US subsidiary Opticann

Lexaria Bioscience Corp (OTCMKTS:LXRP) (CSE:LXX) wins first European patent related to its DehydraTECH technology

9.40am: Mixed start on Wall Street

Wall Street shares started mixed in early deals mid-week as traders aren't sure which way to leap as they keep an eye on the latest on stimulus talks in Washington and digest more corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed around 18 at 28,290, while the S&P 500 added over two points at 3,445. The tech-laden Nasdaq exchange added over 31 at 11,548.

Futures trade had pointed to a generally higher start.

Negotiations on the coronavirus fiscal package are set to continue today between Democratic negotiators and the White House, despiute the self-imposed deadline of end of Tuesday that had been proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Market analyst at JFD Group Charalambos Pissouros was quoted as saying that although an agreed package would likely boost trader sentiment, investors should take each day as it comes currently.

"....the continued rapid spread of COVID-19 could threaten the global economy if it forces further lockdowns of business activity. Investors might also be wary of increasing long positions in equities as the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election draws near," the analyst said.

In company news, streaming giant Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) saw its stock plunge 4.5% to US$501.38 after releasing results on Tuesday after the bell, which showed a slowdown in new subscribers and a miss on revenue. The company added 2.2 million new subscribers in the three months to end September, which was lower than the 3.4 million forecast by analysts.

7.45am: US stocks set for flat start

US stocks looked set for a fairly flat start on Wednesday as although Washington is seemingly moving closer to agreeing a coronavirus (COVID-19) stimulus package not everyone is convinced, and investors have a big batch of corporate news to digest including numbers from BioGen, Abbot Labs and Verizon.

After good gains on Tuesday, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up just 5 points to 28,187, while S&P 500 futures added less than 0.1%, and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.2%.

The White House and Democrats in Congress reportedly edged closer to agreement on the new coronavirus relief package after President Trump said he was willing to accept a large aid bill despite opposition from his own Republican Party.

With just two weeks until the US presidential election, Trump signalled a willingness to go along with more than $2.2 trillion in new COVID-19 relief, a figure Democrats have been pushing for months.

In response, US Treasury yields hit a four-month high while the dollar hit a one-month low as optimism over a pre-election stimulus package bought riskier currencies into favour.

However, underlying the potential for the US Senate to dash investors’ hopes for more stimulus, a senior Senate Republican aide told Reuters that majority leader Mitch McConnell has privately told his fellow Republicans that he did not favour a deal before the November 3 elections.

Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA Europe commented: “There's been an incredible confidence in these markets that a deal will be reached in both cases and the downside risks just don't seem to be being factored in. Perhaps Mitch McConnell's recent warnings to the White House about making a deal before the election are weighing a little today, with the Senate being the main barrier to an agreement.

“Of course, the White House may be confident it can get the votes in the Senate to get a deal over the line and Trump may be willing to ignore the warnings of McConnell if he thinks it could get him a second term. The real fight may not be between the White House and House Democrats after all, rather the President and Senate Republican's as the election looms.”

Six things to watch on Wednesday:

  • Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) will report third-quarter results after the closing bell on Wednesday, with analysts keen to see whether controversial chief executive Elon Musk can achieve the company's ambitious year-end goal.
  • Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) reported its weakest subscriber growth in four years in results released after-New York hours on Tuesday as streaming competition increased, coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions eased and live sports returned to television, adding 2.2 million paid subscribers globally during the quarter that ended September 30, below the consensus target for 3.4 million and its own forecast.
  • Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP) shares surged in after-hours trade in New York after the group beat analyst expectations for the third quarter as daily active users of its Snapchat app continued to rise and demand was strong for its video filters and streamed content. By the end of September Snapchat’s daily active users were up 4% on the second quarter and 18% higher than a year ago to 249mln.
  • Eli Lilly and Co said late on Tuesday it had hired an independent consultant to review a plant producing its promising coronavirus (COVID-19) drug after receiving notices from the US health regulator although it reiterated that it had not received a warning letter from the US Food and Drugs Administration following inspections at the plant.
  • Pioneer Natural Resources Co said late on Tuesday it would buy smaller rival Parsley Energy Inc in a deal valued at about $4.5 billion in the latest consolidation among US oil shale producers.
  • Spain's Iberdrola announced a takeover deal worth $8.3 billion including debt which adds PNM Resources (NYSE:PNM) to its Avangrid (NYSE:AGR) business to create the third-largest US renewable energy operator.

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