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Wall Street Rallies Wednesday          09/30 15:48

   U.S. stocks rallied on Wednesday, but only after zooming up, down and back 
up again in a fitting end to what was a wild month and quarter for Wall Street.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks rallied on Wednesday, but only after zooming 
up, down and back up again in a fitting end to what was a wild month and 
quarter for Wall Street.

   Prospects for additional support from Congress for the economy helped drive 
the day's trading, as they have for weeks. The S&P 500 shot to a gain of as 
much as 1.7% after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that he would 
talk with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about a potential deal in the afternoon, 
"and I hope we can get something done."

   But the gains nearly vanished as pessimism rose about Washington's ability 
to get past its partisanship and send economic aid that investors say is 
crucial. The S&P 500 hit its low for the day just after Pelosi said she and 
Mnuchin "found areas where we are seeking further clarification," though she 
said talks will continue.

   By the end of trading, momentum had returned, and the S&P 500 rose 27.53 
points, or 0.8%, to 3,363.00. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 329.04, 
or 1.2%, to 27,781.70, and the Nasdaq composite added 82.26, or 0.7%, to 
11,167.51.

   It was the last day of a strong quarter for the market, where the S&P 500 
rallied 8.5% to follow up on its 20% surge in the spring. Continued support 
from the Federal Reserve helped drive the gains, as the central bank leaned 
further into the whatever-it-takes approach taken to support markets and the 
economy. After already cutting interest rates to nearly zero, the Fed said 
during the quarter that it may keep interest rates low even after inflation 
runs above its target level.

   But momentum slowed sharply at the end of the quarter, and the S&P 500 lost 
3.9% in September for its first monthly loss since the market was selling off 
in March. A long list of worries dogged Wall Street, headlined by concerns that 
the Big Tech stocks dominating the market simply got too expensive following 
their tremendous run to records.

   Other worries include rising tensions between the United States and China, 
as well as the uncertainties swirling around the upcoming U.S. elections.

   Trading has also been notably erratic recently, with momentum veering 
sharply in several different directions during a single day.

   On Wednesday, the S&P 500 careened between a gain of 0.1% and 1.7% for a 
total spread of 1.6 percentage points. That was typical for the month, marking 
the median for September. It's also twice as wide as the median over the last 
10 years, 0.8 percentage points.

   The tumult has come as the economy's strong rebound earlier this year 
following the easing-up of lockdowns has slowed. The number of layoffs has 
remained stubbornly high, for example, and The Walt Disney Co. said late 
Tuesday that it plans to lay off 28,000 workers because of government 
restrictions due to the pandemic that are hurting its theme parks.

   Other areas of the economy have also seen growth slow since the expiration 
of extra unemployment benefits and other economic aid that Congress approved 
earlier.

   "We all knew that the small businessman or restaurant owner was getting 
hurt, but this takes it to a different level of just how serious it is," said 
J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist with TD Ameritrade. "It maybe changes the 
narrative a bit."

   A report from payroll processor ADP on Wednesday gave some encouragement, 
though. It said hiring by private employers accelerated this month, with 
749,000 jobs added versus economists' expectations for 605,000. Other economic 
reports on Wednesday also came in stronger than expected, including one on 
business activity in the Chicago area.

   That raises hopes for the federal government's more comprehensive jobs 
report, which arrives on Friday. For that, economists had been expecting to see 
hiring slowed to 850,000 from 1.4 million in August.

   This month's jobs report will take on even more importance than usual 
because it will be the final one released before Election Day in November.

   Tuesday night's debate between President Donald Trump and the Democratic 
nominee, Joe Biden, was the first of this election season, and it amplified 
some of the market's concerns. Trump said it may take months to learn the 
election's results, and such a long period of uncertainty could make an already 
shaky market even more volatile.

   But several analysts said they didn't see the debate having a big effect on 
the stock market, whose path depends much more on what happens with corporate 
profits, interest rates and the coronavirus pandemic than who sits in the White 
House.

   "Last night was pretty much a nothing burger from a market perspective, 
other than perhaps suggesting more uncertainty in the weeks ahead, which could 
continue to drive volatility," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of 
investment strategy at E-Trade Financial.

   Trump again lobbed claims of fraud at the voting process, even when the head 
of the FBI has said there has not been any significant coordinated national 
voter fraud. The tone was combative through the night, with plenty of insults 
and talking over one another, and reflective of the country's deepening 
partisan divide.

   Shares of data-mining company Palantir jumped 31% to $9.50 on their first 
day of trading. The company was born 17 ago with the help of CIA seed money. 
Palantir isn't selling new shares to raise money. Instead, it's listing 
existing shares for public trading.

   In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 0.5%. The CAC 40 in Paris fell 0.6%, and 
London's FTSE 100 shed 0.5%.

   In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 1.5%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.8% and 
stocks in Shanghai slipped 0.2%.

   The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.68% from 0.66% late Tuesday.

 
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