Stocks inch up as fate of COVID-19 relief bill remains uncertain
Stock markets on Thursday closed slightly higher as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued last-ditch efforts to agree on a COVID-19 relief bill.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 35 points, or 0.1 percent, while the S&P 500, a broader measure of the market, closed up 18 points, or 0.5 percent.
Democrats and Republicans have failed for more than two months to agree to a fifth COVID-19 relief bill, allowing key programs and benefits to expire in July.
Pelosi on Wednesday delayed a vote on a scaled back $2.2 trillion Democratic bill, a sum that was paired down from a $3.4 trillion bill passed in May.
Senate Republicans have also poured cold water on suggestions that Mnuchin was willing to offer $1.6 trillion, up from an offer of $1 trillion.
Markets have held a steady week of increases after nearly a month of declines from new record highs in early September.
Initial jobless claims released Thursday showed a still-elevated but slightly lower number of new claimants for the last full week of September that did little to move the markets. A manufacturing report that saw a slowdown in the sector’s growth did not have much effect on the markets, either.