The US stock market finished lacklustre session lower on Wednesday, 21 October 2020, as investors weighed the latest developments in reaching a stimulus agreement. Rising coronavirus cases on both sides of the Atlantic and a busy earnings day were also grabbing investor attention.
At closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index declined 97.97 points, or 0.35%, to 28,210.82. The S&P 500 index dropped 7.56 points, or 0.22%, to 3,435.56. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fell 31.80 points, or 0.28%, to 11,484.69.
The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders kept an eye on the latest developments in Washington, as lawmakers try to reach an agreement on a new stimulus bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to reach a deal before a Tuesday deadline and now aim to finalize a proposal before the weekend.
Wall Street's fear gauge touched a one-month high earlier on Wednesday as the U. S. election campaign enters its final stretch. President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will face off in their second and final debate on Thursday night where Trump will attempt to change the trajectory of a race that Biden is leading, according to national polls.
Most of the major sectors ended the day showing only modest moves, contributing to the lackluster close by the broader markets. Housing stocks showed a significant move to the downside, however, with the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index tumbling by 2.6 percent. Considerable weakness was also visible among oil stocks, as reflected by the 2 percent drop by the NYSE Arca Oil Index.
The weakness in the sector came as the price of crude oil for December delivery slumped $1.67 to $40.03 a barrel. Biotechnology, natural gas and airline stocks also saw notable weakness on the day, while gold stocks moved higher along with the price of the precious metal.
ECONOMIC NEWS: Economy Continues To Improve At Modest Pace, Says Fed Beige Book- The Fed's Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in the twelve Fed districts, noted the pace of economic growth characterized as slight to modest in most districts. The report said manufacturing activity generally increased at a moderate pace, while residential housing markets continued to experience steady demand for new and existing homes. Banking contacts also cited increased demand for mortgages as the key driver of overall loan demand, the Fed said.
Meanwhile, the Fed said commercial real estate conditions continued to deteriorate in many districts, with the exception being warehouse and industrial space where construction and leasing activity remained steady. The report also said consumer spending growth remained positive, but some districts reported a leveling off of retail sales and a slight uptick in tourism activity.
Employment increased in almost all districts, the Fed said, although growth remained slow. Job gains were reported most consistently for manufacturing firms, but firms continued to report new furloughs and layoffs. On the inflation front, the Beige Book said prices rose modestly across districts since the previous report. Input costs generally increased faster than consumer prices, although some sectorsnotably construction, manufacturing, retail, and wholesalepassed along the higher costs to consumers.
Among Indian ADR, INFOSYS fell 0.2% to $15.34, HDFC Bank added 1.49% to $59.78, ICICI Bank rose 0.7% to $11.46, and Dr Reddys Labs declined 1.27% to $67.61. Wipro fell 1% to $5, WNS Holdings fell 0.18% to $61.75, Tata Motors fell 0.9% to $8.84, and Azure Power Global fell 7.45% to $27.44. Vedanta was up 1.48% to $5.50.
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