Wall Street was mixed on Wednesday, with the Nasdaq hitting a record high as investors awaited a potential fiscal economic stimulus package after the Federal Reserve repeated a pledge to keep its benchmark interest rate near zero.
The S&P 500 turned slightly negative after the Fed promised to keep funneling cash into financial markets to fight the recession, even as policymakers` outlook for next year improved following initial rollout of a coronavirus vaccine.
Gains in tech stocks, many of which have benefited from changes in consumer habits because of the pandemic, pushed the Nasdaq to a record high before it trimmed its gains.
Investor sentiment has oscillated in recent sessions between optimism about the early distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine and worries about record infection rates in the United States. Despite the pandemic, the S&P 500 has climbed over 14% in 2020.
US congressional negotiators were “closing in on” a $ 900 billion COVID-19 aid bill that would include $ 600 to $ 700 stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits, and Congress could start voting within 24 hours, lawmakers and aides said.
Data showed US retail sales fell 1.1% last month from October, as new coronavirus infections and decreasing household income weighed on spending.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.35% at 30,094.38 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.05% to 3,692.8.