Dow Kicks Off October Higher on Stimulus Progress

Stocks rise on signs of progress toward a fifth coronavirus aid package.

Stocks rose Thursday amid signs of progress toward a fifth coronavirus aid package.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 200 points, or 0.72%, to 27,981, the S&P 500 was up 0.8% and the Nasdaq rose 1.1%.

Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. came in at 837,000, slightly lower than economists’ forecasts. However, the number of Americans applying for first-time jobless benefits held steady for a fifth straight week, a sign that the summer rebound in the labor market spurred by the reopening of businesses could be starting to fade.

The official U.S. jobs report for September will be released Friday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “made a lot of progress in a lot of areas” in talks they held Wednesday. Pelosi said the two “found areas where we are seeking further clarification,” but added that talks with the Treasury secretary would continue.

The House is expected to vote on its slimmed down $2.2 billion aid proposal later Thursday, though the legislation has little chance of passing in the Senate.

American Airlines  (AAL) – Get Report said it will begin furloughing 19,000 employees and United Airlines  (UAL) – Get Report will lay off 13,000 workers after federal aid for the industry expired. The airlines said, however, said they would reverse the cuts if the U.S. government provided the funds the industry needs over the next few days.

Stocks rose Wednesday as renewed hopes for a stimulus package overshadowed worries about a contested election following an acrimonious debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

The Dow finished up 329 points, or 1.2%, to 27,781, the S&P 500 gained 0.83% and the Nasdaq rose 0.74%.

Stocks in September posted their first monthly losses since March but did end the third quarter higher. The Dow rose 7.6%, the S&P 500 gained 8.5%, and the Nasdaq surged 11% over the past three months.

PepsiCo  (PEP) – Get Report reported stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings and forecast solid full-year profit as pandemic snack sales continued to pace top-line growth.

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