US Stocks Open Lower; S&P 500 Faces 4th Week Of Losses

Friday, September 25th 2020, 8:52 am
By: Associated Press

Stocks are falling in early trading Friday as Wall Street heads for its fourth straight weekly decline. The S&P 500 is down 0.2% and the Dow is lower by 0.3%. Recent trading has been marked by sharp swings in momentum as investors worry about the strength of the economic recovery and the prospects for Congress to deliver more economic aid for struggling Americans. Novavax rose 4.3% after saying it has begun a late stage trial of its potential COVID-19 vaccine in the United Kingdom. European indexes are down while Asian markets largely edged up.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: AP’s earlier story appears below.

Global shares and Wall Street futures turned lower on Friday, meaning U.S. stocks could fall for a fourth consecutive week as investors worry about the economic impact of a resurgence in virus cases and political divisions in the U.S.

The future for the Dow industrials slipped 0.6% while the S&P 500 future lost nearly 0.5%. The S&P 500 has booked losses for three weeks in a row and appears likely to extend that to four.

In Europe, France’s CAC 40 dropped 1.6% to 4,687, while Germany’s DAX fell 1.6% as well, to 12,401. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged 0.4% lower to 5,797.

Despite signs of a global economic rebound in the third quarter, worries remain the upturn may be running out of steam.

House Democrats said they are paring back their proposal for a new stimulus package in an attempt to jump-start negotiations with the Trump administration. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell have said the government’s top priority should be to provide affordable loans to small businesses and further support for millions of Americans still unemployed.

Paralyzing partisanship has prevented a Congressional renewal of aid, and the recent vacancy on the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg deepened the divide. The renewed optimism that the biggest economy might get another boost carried over into Friday trading.

“This stimulus deal needs to go through,” Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said in a commentary. “With the risks building up everywhere you look, it doesn’t seem to be a great time to be trying to pick the bottom of equity markets, but a stimulus relief bill will go a long way to nudging the market along.”

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.5% to finish at 23,204.62. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.5% to 5,964.90, while South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3% at 2,278.79. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gave up earlier gains, sinking 0.3% to 23,235.42. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.1% to 3,219.42.

The market’s momentum has shifted with lightning speed recently. The U.S. presidential election is a big factor, particularly after President Donald Trump’s refusal Wednesday to commit to a peaceful transition of power i f he lost, and rising tensions between the United States and China. Adding to the uncertainty is the question of how soon drugmakers will be able to develop a coronavirus vaccine to stem future waves of outbreaks.

Layered on top of all the myriad concerns are the still-raging coronavirus pandemic and the threat that worsening counts around the world could lead to more business restrictions.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude lost 35 cents to $39.96 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 21 cents to $42.25 a barrel.

The dollar inched up to 105.48 Japanese yen from 105.42 yen Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.1636 from $1.1672.