- US stocks climbed on Wednesday as investors digested a disorderly presidential debate and wavering hopes for a near-term stimulus deal.
- All three major US indexes climbed through the day on renewed hopes for a deal. Stocks pared some gains after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell balked at Democrats' latest proposal.
- The trio of indexes notched their first monthly losses since March after failing to retrace early September's tech-led slumps.
- On the economic data front, the September ADP report said US private firms added 749,000 payrolls last month, handily beating the median economist estimate of 649,000 payrolls.
- Watch major indexes update live here.
US equities climbed on Wednesday as investors bet on slight progress in stimulus-deal talks.
Premarket futures traded negative until Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that he expected to reach a stimulus deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. All three major US indexes then opened in positive territory and gained through the session on revived hopes for a near-term compromise.
Still, legislators have a ways to go before new spending proposals reach President Donald Trump's desk. House Democrats are set to vote on their $2.2 trillion measure tonight despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell balking at the bill's size. Pelosi and Mnuchin indicated they will continue to negotiate on a spending package.
Here's where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET close on Wednesday:
Despite Wednesday's gains, all three major indexes registered their first monthly declines since March. The gauges suffered throughout the month as investors balked at tech giants' lofty valuations and secured profits made in the market's summer rally.
The positive market open was a turnaround from declines in the futures market late Tuesday as President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden sparred on stage for the first time. The chaotic presidential debate traded policy discussion for insult-tossing and interruptions, leaving some to wonder whether two more scheduled debates would still take place.
Trump repeated claims that mail-in voting is fraudulent and stopped short of confirming that he would accept defeat should his opponent win in November. Several analysts have said a disputed election result would likely drive outsized market volatility and temporarily weigh on stocks.
"It's hard to pick a winner, I think we're all losers as far as that debate is concerned, but Biden went into the debate clearly ahead in the polls and I'd be amazed if last night changed anything," Craig Erlam, a senior market analyst at Oanda Europe, said in a note. "I guess he technically wins by default."
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Indexes also pared some premarket losses after a better-than-expected reading from the monthly ADP report. Private US companies added 749,000 payrolls in September, the company said. That came in above the median economist estimate of 649,000 payrolls, according to Bloomberg data.
The monthly ADP report serves as a precursor to the US government's nonfarm-payrolls report on Friday. That release is expected to show that the unemployment rate fell to 8.2% from 8.4%. Economists also expect it to show 850,000 payroll additions in September.
Palantir sank below its opening price of $10 per share after surging immediately after its highly anticipated direct listing. Asana similarly declined after its own Wednesday debut.
Disney sank after announcing plans to lay off 28,000 workers in the company's struggling resort business. It would be one of the largest layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Micron fell as gloomy forward guidance overshadowed the chipmaker's strong quarterly performance. Though the company nearly doubled its profit, investors dumped shares after Micron said it wasn't sure when chip sales to Huawei could resume; Huawei's purchases made up 10% of Micron's fourth-quarter sales.
Spot gold sank after flirting with the $1,900 threshold, sliding as much as 0.9% to $1881.4800 per ounce. The precious metal has toyed with the key psychological level through the past week after losing the support in mid-September.
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