Dow Holds Slightly Higher After Pelosi Rejects Standalone Airlines Bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t agree to a standalone relief bill for airlines without a guarantee a more comprehensive aid package will be addressed.

Stocks rose Thursday but came off earlier highs after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin she wouldn’t agree to a standalone relief bill for airlines without a guarantee they would address a more comprehensive package.

“They just want money for the president to spend money on who knows what?” Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday. “There is no stand-alone bill without a bigger bill.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 35 points, or 0.12%, to 28,338, the S&P 500 gained 0.51% and the Nasdaq was up 0.42%.

Wall Street had been feeling optimistic lawmakers could secure further fiscal stimulus for the U.S. economy even if it comes in the form of smaller relief bills.

Morgan Stanley’s  (MS) – Get Report agreement to acquire Eaton Vance  (EV) – Get Report for $7 billion also was boosting sentiment.

International Business Machines  (IBM) – Get Report rose after the computer giant said it would spin off its infrastructure division, helping IBM concentrate its focus on hybrid cloud growth.

Shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals  (REGN) – Get Report surged Thursday after President Donald Trump praised its coronavirus antibody treatment and the drugmaker said it would seek emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

Stocks finished sharply higher Wednesday after Trump said he would consider alternative aid measures such as a new round of stimulus checks, the Paycheck Protection Program and support for airlines. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had signaled on Wednesday that she supported a standalone airline stimulus bill.

Trump told Fox Business on Thursday that stimulus talks, which he declared over earlier this week, were showing progress, and could include support beyond the airline sector.

Jobless claims in the U.S. remain elevated, with the latest weekly data showing an additional 840,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits.

“Even though there is uncertainty now about the fiscal stimulus negotiations, regardless of who wins the election, we are likely to have additional fiscal stimulus,” said Nancy Davis, founder of Quadratic Capital and portfolio manager of the Quadratic Interest Rate Volatility and Inflation Hedge ETF IVOL.

With the uncertainty, she added, “I think it’s important for investors to have a diversified portfolio, with investments that are uncorrelated to each other. We should expect more uncertainty going forward.”