Stock futures trade mixed following Mnuchin comments on lending programs

On Wall Street on Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.4% after spending much of the day flipping between small losses and gains

U.S. equity futures are trading mixed after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that key pandemic lending programs at the Federal Reserve would expire on Dec. 31.

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The major futures indexes are suggesting a decline of 0.2% when the Friday trading session begins on Wall Street.

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In a letter to Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Mnuchin said the $455 billion allocated to Treasury under the CARES Act last spring, much of it set aside to support Fed lending to businesses, nonprofits and local governments, should be instead available for Congress to reallocate.

MNUCHIN PULLS PLUG ON SOME PANDEMIC LENDING PROGRAMS THAT FED CONSIDERS ESSENTIAL

Democrats and Republicans in Washington, meanwhile, are still stymied in their attempts to deliver another dose of financial support to workers and businesses. That has the specter of a bleak winter looming for both the health care system and economy.

Asian shares were mixed in muted trading Friday after Wall Street eked out modest gains amid a tug of war between worries about the worsening pandemic in the present and optimism that a vaccine will rescue the economy in the future.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.4%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.4% and China's Shanghai Composite rose nearly 0.4%.

In Europe, London's FTSE added 0.5%, Germany's DAX gained 0.5% and France's CAC was up 0.6%.

On Wall Street on Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.4% after spending much of the day flipping between small losses and gains. The benchmark index was coming off a 1.2% slide from the day before that pulled it away from its record of 3,626.91 set on Monday. The late-afternoon burst of buying erased nearly all of the S&P 500's losses for the week.

Technology companies accounted for much of the rebound. Companies that rely on consumer spending and communications stocks also helped lift the market, outweighing losses in the utilities and health care sectors. Treasury yields fell, a sign of caution in the market.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES30218.26+248.74+0.83%
SP500S&P 5003699.12+32.40+0.88%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX12464.232074+87.05+0.70%

The S&P 500 gained 14.08 points to 3,581.87. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 44.81 points, or 0.2%, to 29,483.23. The index had been down 210 points. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite climbed 103.11 points, or 0.9%, to 11,904.71.

Wall Street’s huge November rally has slowed this week as fears about the economy buckling in the near term collide with hopes that stronger growth will arrive next year once effective coronavirus vaccines become available. A discouraging report on Thursday underscored the fears, showing that more U.S. workers filed for unemployment benefits last week than the week before. It was a worse number than economists expected and the first increase in five weeks.

With infections and hospitalizations on the rise across much of the country, governors and mayors are grudgingly issuing mask mandates, limiting the size of gatherings, banning indoor restaurant dining, closing gyms and restricting the hours and capacity of other businesses.

Counterbalancing all those fears is hope that coming vaccines can control the pandemic and get the global economy back toward normal next year.

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In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude stood gained 31 cents to $42.05 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 45 cents to $44.65 a barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.