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Stock futures flat as Washington fails to reach stimulus deal

U.S. stock index futures were little changed in overnight trading as U.S. lawmakers try to hammer out a deal on additional stimulus measures.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke once again on Thursday in an effort to ink a deal for another coronavirus relief package, but they remained at odds.

In the absence of a bipartisan plan, House Democrats moved to pass their own $2.2 trillion package Thursday night. Leaving the House floor, Pelosi told reporters the sides would not reach a deal Thursday but would keep talking, according to NBC News.

“Markets are being surprisingly resilient … in the absence of actual stimulus progress,” Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance, told CNBC. “Clearly markets are watching what’s happening between Secretary Mnuchin and Speaker Pelosi, and I think they’re cautiously optimistic that some type of comprise will be made,” he added.

Stocks finished higher on Thursday, after both the Dow and S&P 500 spent some of the session in negative territory. 

The Dow closed 35 points higher for a gain of 0.1%, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.5%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was the relative outperformer, gaining 1.4%.

On Friday investors will get a read on the state of the ongoing economic recovery when September’s jobs report is released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The final jobs report ahead of the election is expected to show a slowdown from August’s levels. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones are expecting 800,000 nonfarm payrolls added, down from 1.37 million in August.

Stocks have staged a record rebound since the economic shutdown sent stocks tumbling in March. But the major averages all finished September lower, snapping a five-month win streak, as doubts emerge about the pace and breadth of the recovery.

Zaccarelli noted that while there seems to be a floor under stocks, if the market is to continue moving higher into the end of the year there needs to be strength from more areas of the market. 

“For the market to really push higher for the rest of the year we really need to see some participation from the cyclical sectors,” he said, citing industrials and financials in particular.

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