Dollar drops, stocks mixed

by Jonathan Adams

Stocks were mixed, while oil extended an overnight gain

The dollar came back under pressure Friday as investors weighed fading prospects for a stimulus deal in Washington against disappointing U.S. jobs data. Stocks were mixed and oil extended an overnight gain.

The yen pushed higher and the euro strengthened on a further monetary policy boost in the region. S&P 500 futures fluctuated after the index dipped for a second day without any signs of a breakthrough on the top issues that have held up a stimulus deal by lawmakers. U.S. employment data suggested that widening business shutdowns to curb the pandemic are spurring fresh job losses.

Treasuries held overnight gains after a strong 30-year bond auction. Airbnb Inc. more than doubled in its trading debut. After the close of U.S. markets Thursday came news that the first Covid-19 vaccine expected to be deployed in the U.S. won backing of a panel of government advisers.

The fate of an additional relief package remains unresolved as Democrats and Republicans continue to negotiate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is now on board with Mnuchin’s $916 billion proposal, and cited the need to do “everything we can” to help the economy. Meanwhile, Pelosi sees the other $908 billion plan still being drafted by a bipartisan group of lawmakers as the best path to a deal.

We’re just kind of waiting on a deal, said Keith Gangl, a portfolio manager at Gradient Investments. I wouldn’t expect the market to do a whole lot one way or the other going into year-end from here, he said, “especially if the stimulus package keeps getting pushed out.”

Elsewhere, oil in London climbed above $50 a barrel for the first time since the pandemic. Futures in New York traded near $47 a barrel.

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