The S&P 500 rose slightly on Wednesday amid the Federal Reserve’s latest pledge to support the economy and the apparent progress in U.S. fiscal stimulus negotiations.
The Dow Jones Industrials finished in minus territory, off 44.77 points to 30,154.54.
The S&P 500 recovered 6.55 points to 3,701.17.
The NASDAQ advanced 63.13 points above Tuesday’s record closing high, to 12,658.19, as Apple and Microsoft each popped more than 2%
The U.S. central bank said it will buy at least $120 billion of bonds each month “until substantial further progress has been made toward the Committee’s maximum employment and price stability goals.” The Fed declined to make any changes to the duration of its bond-buying program, but Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank would increase its asset purchases if the economic recovery slows.
Congressional leaders closed in on a $900-billion rescue deal that would include a new round of direct payments to consumers. However, that package excludes a liability shield for businesses and state and local aid. Politico first reported the news.
The news came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy met Tuesday to strike bipartisan aid deal. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called into the talks.
The deadline on stimulus looms amid some of the darkest days of the pandemic. The U.S. is recording at least 215,400 new Covid-19 cases and at least 2,300 virus-related deaths each day, based on a seven-day average using Johns Hopkins University data.
Wednesday’s gains were kept in check by a steeper-than-expected drop in U.S. retail sales. The Commerce Department said retail sales fell by 1.1% in November. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a decline of 0.3%.
Prices for the 10-Year Treasury dipped, raising yields to 0.92% from Tuesday’s 0.91%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices regained 18 cents to $47.80 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices hiked $12.400 to $1,867.70