Japanese stocks edged up Friday as they reopened after being shut down all the previous day by a technical fault, though markets across Asia were mixed in holiday-thinned trade with investors keeping an eye on stimulus talks in Washington.
After September’s sell-off, Wall Street got the new quarter off to a positive start as technology firms appeared to rediscover their mojo, helped by a dip in US jobless claims that provided hope for key non-farm payrolls data later in the day.
However, news that several big-name firms including Walt Disney, American Airlines and United had cut tens of thousands of posts, and that Americans’ personal income had dived, fuelled concerns about the outlook for the consumer-driven US economy.
The bigger-than-feared fall in income came as expectations dwindled that US lawmakers will have time to pass a new stimulus package before the November 3 presidential election.
“The data highlights the imperative of a new fiscal support package if consumption is not to derail the economic recovery in the fourth quarter,” said National Australia Bank strategist Ray Attrill.
“Yet overnight we have no sign of progress towards reconciliation between the Democrats and the White House, even though both sides continue to express optimism on the ability to reach a compromise.”
Democrats pushed their latest $2.2 trillion proposal through the House, where they hold a majority, but without any opposition support, there is no chance it will be agreed by the Republican-dominated Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held a series of talks Thursday to find a way through the deadlock but when asked whether a chance still remained for an agreement, Pelosi replied: “I don’t know.”
Georgetown University’s governmental affairs institute senior fellow Josh Huder said: “I can’t tell how much of this is genuine effort to pass