Stock market live Thursday: Stocks close in the green, Nasdaq up 1%, stimulus gridlock

“Although buyers still exist on further backup in yields from here, we do feel rates have room to move slightly higher should a deal from Congress happen and the data cooperate over the next few days: Long end Treasury supply on the way next week too. On a further move higher in 10-year yields we look toward 75-basis points. It sounds paltry, but this is what the market is offering right now,”  wrote Greg Faranello, head of U.S. rates at AmeriVet.

Stocks close with slight gains, tech rallies

Stocks ended the day with minimal gains on Thursday, with the S&P 500 rising 0.5% to start the fourth quarter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 35 points, after being up 250 points earlier in the session, as investors grew concerned about the gridlock in Washington around the stimulus package. Technology stocks outperforming, driving the Nasdaq Composite 1.4% higher. Shares of Netflix rallied 5.5%. —Maggie Fitzgerald 

Fed’s Bowman calls for easing mortgage rules on smaller banks

Restrictions should be loosened on small banks so they can provide home loans more easily, Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman said Thursday. Bowman noted that “community banks are often more willing to work with borrowers to get through difficult times. Taking steps to simplify and lower this regulatory burden … would help to ensure that homeowners can stay in their homes during times of stress.” Bowman noted the high compliance costs and excessive training and paperwork needed for small banks to originate mortgages. Her remarks were made during a webinar at Montana State University. — Jeff Cox

Final hour of trading: Stocks flat on stimulus stalemate, tech outperforms

With about a hour left in the trading day on Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up about 35 points, off its session high on concerns about future government stimulus. The S&P 500 rose 0.5%. Technology outperformed, driving the Nasdaq Composite up nearly 1.5%. — Maggie Fitzgerald 

Dow falls as stimulus hopes dim

The Dow reversed course and fell to a 100-point loss as Democrats prepared to vote on their own relief package. It wasn’t clear if the new guidance from the House meant a vote was definitely happening. The Democrats had previously delayed voting on the bill, which Republicans oppose, to give Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin more time to negotiate on a bipartisan package. Pelosi said in a statement that “distance” remains on key sticking points but that the two will continue to talk this afternoon. — Jesse Pound

Nikola shares jump as company confirms business plan

Nikola shares jumped as much as 31% on Thursday, one day after the embattled company reconfirmed its business plan amid widespread investor anxiety. The company’s partnership with GM has been thrown into question following fraud claims from short-selling firm Hindenburg Research, as well as sexual abuse allegations against the company’s founder and former executive chairman Trevor Milton.

Through a spokesman, Milton “strongly denied” what he said were false allegations and declined to address the specific details of the women’s complaints. Milton and Nikola have also denied the fraud allegations in Hindenburg’s report.

The stock last traded about 17% higher. – Pippa Stevens

Oil drops 5% amid coronavirus-induced demand worries

Oil prices came under pressure on Thursday as traders worried that the rising number of coronavirus cases will impact demand. West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. oil benchmark, slid $1.95, or 4.85%, to $38.27 per barrel. Earlier in the session it traded as low as $37.61. International benchmark Brent crude traded 4.16%, or $1.76, lower at $40.54. 

According to a survey from Reuters, OPEC production increased by 160,000 barrels per day in September, which also weighed on prices. – Pippa Stevens

Mnuchin and Pelosi set to talk stimulus at 1 pm ET

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are scheduled to speak on the phone at 1 p.m. ET. regarding a second coronavirus stimulus bill. On Wednesday, it appeared the pair might be making a compromise; however, House Democrats delayed a vote on their $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Republicans “don’t share our values,” NBC News reported, but investors and ailing Americans are hoping the two can agree on a deal after weeks of stalemate. — Maggie Fitzgerald 

Stocks making the biggest movers midday

Here are a few of the stocks that made significant moves in midday trading:

Overstock.com — The e-commerce stock jumped after Wedbush added Overstock to its Best Ideas List.

Bed Bath & Beyond — Shares of the retailer soared more than 30% after the retailer reported second quarter earnings that blew past analyst expectations.

Workday — Shares of the on‑demand financial management and human capital management software vendor rose more than 2% after Citi upgraded the stock to buy from neutral. The Wall Street firm said Workday has many paths to “sustain solid growth.”

More movers can be found here. — Jesse Pound

Strong Q3 usually a good sign for the rest of year

Stocks finished off the third quarter with strong gains and that is a good sign for the next three months, if history is any indication. Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial, pointed out that when the S&P 500 manages to post a return of at least 7.5% in the third quarter, which is a typically weak period for stocks, the strength has extended to the fourth quarter with an average return of 7.3%. That is based on market data going back to 1950. The S&P 500 rallied 8.47% in the third quarter for its sixth positive quarter in seven. — Yun Li

Union Gaming raises price target on Penn National to $100 from $62

Union Gaming raised its price target on Penn National to a Street high $100 from $62 on Thursday morning as  the US sports betting market “continues to expand with rapid mainstream acceptance.” The firm reiterated its buy rating on the red hot stock which is up 184% this year. “We contend PENN is one of the best plays for both the COVID reopening trade and long-term total addressable market in US iCasino and sports betting,” analyst John DeCree said. — Michael Bloom

Market loses steam

The market gave back some of its gains as traders watched for news of a potential stimulus deal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Republicans “don’t share our values,” NBC News reported. The Dow’s gains were whittled down to fewer than 20 points, while the S&P 500 was up just 0.2%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq still sported a 0.8% advance. — Jesse Pound

Here are Thursday’s biggest analyst calls of the day: Amazon, DraftKings, Overstock & more

  • Citi opened a positive catalyst watch on Amgen.
  • KeyBanc initiated Papa John’s as buy.
  • Pivotal raised its price target on Amazon to $4,500 from $3,925.
  • Needham initiated DraftKings as buy.
  • Deutsche Bank upgraded BlackRock to buy from hold.
  • Wedbush added Overstock.com to the best ideas list.
  • Citi upgraded Workday to buy from neutral.
  • Wells Fargo raised its price target on McDonald’s to $244 from $222.

Pro subscribers can read more here. — Michael Bloom

Stocks rise to start October

The U.S. market opened higher to kick off the first session of October. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 160 points for a 0.6% gain. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.7% and 1.1%, respectively. — Jesse Pound

Jefferies puts a hold rating on Snowflake

Another Wall Street firm turned a cold shoulder to newly public Snowflake. Jefferies put a hold rating on the stock and set a price target just below where the shares closed on Wednesday, saying there was a “deep disconnect” between the fundamentals and the stock price relative to other cloud companies. 

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about the call here. — Jesse Pound

Jobless claims lower-than-expected

U.S. weekly jobless claims totaled 837,000 for the week ending Sept. 26, which was lower than the 850,000 expected by economists polled by Dow Jones. The number is also lower than last week’s reading, which came in at 870,000. – Pippa Stevens

Treasury yields rise to 3-week high as fourth quarter begins

The 10-year Treasury yield edged to the top of its recent range, as investors bought stocks and sold bonds as the new quarter gets underway.

The 10-year yield, which moves opposite price, rose to 0.705%, its highest level since Sept. 10, when it was at 0.723%. The 5-year yield hit a high of 0.286%, also the highest since Sept. 10.

Greg Faranello of Amerivet said rates could go higher.

“Although buyers still exist on further backup in yields from here, we do feel rates have room to move slightly higher should a deal from Congress happen and the data cooperate over the next few days: Long end Treasury supply on the way next week too. On a further move higher in 10-year yields we look toward 75-basis points. It sounds paltry, but this is what the market is offering right now,” he wrote. — Patti Domm 

 

A recap of September and Q3 performance

Stocks just wrapped up September with the first monthly losses since March, but major averages achieved strong gains for the third quarter. Here are some key stats:
September:

  • The Dow fell 2.28% for its first negative month since March
  • The S&P 500 lost 3.92% for its first negative month since March
  • The Nasdaq Composite slid 5.16% for its first negative month since March
  • Nine out of 11 S&P sectors were negative, led to the downside by energy, which fell 14.64%

Third quarter:

  • The Dow gained 7.63% for its sixth positive quarter in seven
  • The Nasdaq Composite gained 11.02% for its third positive quarter in four
  • The S&P gained 8.47% for its sixth positive quarter in seven
  • Ten out of 11 sectors were positive, led by consumer discretionary, which gained 14.86%. Energy was the only negative sector for the quarter, shedding 20.86%. – Gina Francolla, Pippa Stevens

CNBC survey shows investors are bullish for Q4

Wall Street investors are largely optimistic about the stock market heading into the fourth quarter, but they have concerns about a second coronavirus wave, according to a new CNBC quarterly survey, which polled dozens of investors, traders and strategists.

Nearly half (46%) of the survey’s respondents said the S&P 500 will rise in the final quarter of 2020. A third of the polled investors see increased volatility ahead, but only 9% expect the S&P 500 to fall into year end. — Maggie Fitzgerald

Optimism grows about potential stimulus deal

House Democrats delayed a vote on their $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill that Republicans oppose to give more time for talks between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The two failed to reach an agreement on Wednesday but have signaled optimism that the months-long standoff could soon break.

With negotiations having now dragged into October, American and United announced that they would go ahead and start their 32,000 worker furloughs previously barred by the CARES Act. The companies said they would reverse the cuts if they received more federal aid. — Jesse Pound

Bed Bath & Beyond jumps after earnings

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond jumped more than 14% during premarket trading on Thursday following the company’s second quarter earnings results. The retailer reported its first same-store sales increase since 2016, and saw its online business surge more than 80% during the quarter. The company earned 50 cents per share on an adjusted basis, ahead of the 23-cent loss analysts had been expecting, according to Refinitiv. Revenue came in at $2.69 billion, compared to the expected $2.60 billion. – Pippa Stevens

Jobless claims on deck

Investors are waiting for the latest jobless claims report, which is due at 8:30 a.m.ET on Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected first-time filers for unemployment benefits to total 850,000 in the week ending Sept.26. In the week prior, the number jumped unexpectedly to 870,000.— Yun Li

Dow futures climb 250 points

Futures tied to major U.S. equity benchmarks pointed to solid gains at Thursday’s open as Wall Street kicks off a new month and quarter amid rising hopes for further fiscal stimulus. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 250 points, or 0.9%, indicating an opening gain of about 260 points. S&P 500 futures rose 0.9%. Nasdaq 100 futures gained 1.3%.— Yun Li