Stocks finish little changed as COVID relief hangs in limbo

The S&P made several runs at a record this week but failed to hit the milestone

U.S. equity markets ended the session flat in what was a quiet summer Friday after lawmakers went on recess without agreeing on a coronavirus relief package and retail sales softened.

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TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES27584.06+410.10+1.51%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted modest gains, rising 34 points or 0.12%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.02% percent and 0.21%, respectively.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
SP500S&P 5003351.6+53.14+1.61%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX11117.525026+203.96+1.87%

The S&P 500 remains just shy of a record after making several attempts this week to capture the 3,386.15 level.

The Senate adjourned for its August recess on Thursday, joining the House, as Republicans and Democrats remain $1 trillion apart on a coronavirus relief package. The major hurdle in negotiations is about $950 billion of aid that Democrats want to give states and cities.

President Trump, in a midday press briefing, announced he is ready to send Americans a second stimulus check, and blamed Democrats for the hold-up.

On the economic front, retail sales rose 1.2% in July, missing the 1.9% gain that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting while June’s reading was revised up to 8.4% from 7.5%.

Elsewhere, industrial sales rose 3% month-over-month in July, matching estimates.

Looking at stocks, McKesson popped after Trump announced the company will be the lead distributor for a coronavirus vaccine.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MCKMCKESSON CORPORATION150.09+1.58+1.06%

Apple Inc. slid further away from a $2 trillion market capitalization after hitting $1.97 trillion on Thursday. Shares need to top $467.77 to reach the target.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AAPLAPPLE INC.114.96+2.68+2.39%
TSLATESLA INC.421.20+13.86+3.40%

Tesla Inc. was upgraded to “equal weight” at Morgan Stanley, which cited the prospects of its battery business.

Looking at earnings, Chinese search engine Baidu reported a beat on both the top and bottom lines, but shares were under pressure after iQiyi Inc., a Netflix-like streaming service that the company spun off in January 2018, announced it was cooperating with a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probe of its financial records.

The investigation comes following an April report released by Wolfpack Research that accused the company of overstating revenue by as much as 44%.

Elsewhere, DraftKings Inc.’s quarterly loss widened as COVID-19 put sports on hold, but the sports-betting app said revenue has seen sequential improvement as pro events resume.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
DKNGDRAFTKINGS56.89+3.70+6.96%

Looking at commodities, gold slid $19.70 to $1,937 an ounce, while West Texas Intermediate crude oil was little changed at $42.01 per barrel.

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European markets were trading lower across the board, with France’s CAC down 1.58%, Britain’s FTSE weaker by 1.55% and Germany’s DAX off 0.71%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.19% while Japan’s Nikkei added 0.17% and China’s Shanghai Composite tacked on 1.19%.