Oct 22 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes edged higher on Thursday as investors held out for more fiscal stimulus against the backdrop of economic data pointing to a slowing labor market recovery.
The number of Americans filing for state unemployment benefits last week dropped more than expected to 787,000, but remained stubbornly high as support from fiscal stimulus faded.
“There is still hope for stimulus talks, but the market is getting more and more unsure whether or not it’s going to happen,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.
“Anybody who is realistic about it realizes that the stimulus is not going to come until sometime after the election.”
Wall Street’s main indexes swung between gains and losses this week following a flurry of reports related to progress in the stimulus talks. The CBOE Market Volatility index rose for the eighth time in nine sessions on Thursday.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said negotiators were making progress in ongoing talks with the Trump administration for another round of financial aid.
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been negotiating a relief bill near the $2 trillion mark, a prospect that faces opposition from Senate Republicans who have expressed concern about the potential impact on an already ballooning federal deficit.
All eyes will be on the final presidential debate on Thursday night, where Trump will attempt to change the trajectory of the race that Democratic challenger Joe Biden seems to be leading, according to national polls.
Six of the 11 major S&P sectors rose with the healthcare index adding 1.1%.
At 9:52 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 34.40 points, or 0.12%, at 28,245.22, the S&P 500 was up 8.36 points, or 0.24%, at 3,443.92. The Nasdaq Composite was up 47.41 points, or 0.41%, at 11,532.11.
Tesla Inc climbed 3.0% after the electric-car maker reported its fifth consecutive quarterly profit and record revenue of $8.8 billion.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc fell 6.3% as it posted a drop in quarterly profit, hurt by higher beef prices, delivery costs and coronavirus-related expenses.
Among blue-chip companies, Coca-Cola Co gained 1.8% as it beat quarterly results expectations, while chemicals maker Dow Inc rose 1.0% after it surpassed quarterly profit estimates.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1.68-to-1 on the NYSE and 1.77-to-1 on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded eight new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 28 new highs and 10 new lows.
(Reporting by Medha Singh and Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shounak Dasgupta)