Saturday, October 31, 2020
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Wall Street little changed as investors seek fresh catalysts

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(Reuters) – U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday amid a lack of major catalysts, including economic data, and uncertainty over President Donald Trump’s policies.

Markets rallied sharply after Trump’s election victory in November, riding on hopes that his plans including simpler regulations, higher infrastructure spending and tax cuts will boost the economy.

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However, investors have become wary about Trump’s focus on isolationist policies, including a travel ban on seven mainly Muslim nations that was blocked by a federal judge on Friday.

Nearly 100 companies including Alphabet, Apple and Facebook banded together to file a legal brief opposing the ban, arguing that it “inflicts significant harm on American business.”

Trump’s agenda presents risks as tax cuts and infrastructure funding may boost growth, but restrictions on trade and immigration could offset their effect, Goldman Sachs economist Alec Phillips said in a note.

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At 10:54 a.m. ET (1554 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 2.03 points, or 0.01 percent, at 20,073.49.

The S&P 500 was down 4.24 points, or 0.18 percent, at 2,293.18. The Nasdaq Composite was down 6.59 points, or 0.12 percent, at 5,660.18.

“Investors are in a wait-and-see mode and are looking for the next bullish catalyst to send the market higher,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive officer at 50 Park Investments.

“There are concerns regarding the backlash against any protectionist policies that come out of Washington and other countries and investors are seeking clarity.”

French far-right party leader Marine Le Pen launched her bid for the presidency with a vow to fight deregulated globalization and to take France out of the euro.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the energy index’s 0.67 percent fall leading the decliners.

Oil slipped further below $57 barrel as a stronger dollar and ample U.S. supplies outweighed OPEC output curbs and rising tensions between the United States and Iran. [O/R]

Hasbro jumped as much as 16.6 percent to a record high of $96.34 after the toymaker’s quarterly results beat expectations. The stock provided the second biggest boost to the S&P and Nasdaq.

Tiffany fell 2.1 percent to $78.85 as the upscale jeweler said its CEO has stepped down after what the company called disappointing financial results.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,610 to 1,142. On the Nasdaq, 1,523 issues fell and 1,101 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 11 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 75 new highs and 15 new lows.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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