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U.S. jobless claims, consumer spending hint at stalling recovery

Airlines head higher on coronavirus aid hopes

Exxon warns of bigger-than-expected Q3 loss

Market leaders boost all three indexes

Indexes: Dow off 0.30%, S&P up 0.07%, Nasdaq 0.91%

New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments to late afternoon; new byline, adds NEW YORK dateline

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK, Oct 1 (Reuters)Wall Street see-sawed on Thursday as investors juggled optimism over progress on stimulus talks Washington with signs of waning momentum of economic recovery from the pandemic recession, now entering its ninth month.

The S&P 500 was modestly higher and the Nasdaq more solidly in the black. The blue-chip Dow was lower, with all three indexes losing steam in mid-afternoon trading.

A spate of data, including jobless claims and consumer spending, suggested that the plodding economic recovery could be losing steam.

But in the latest development in negotiations for a new pandemic relief deal, the White House countered House Democrats’ $2.2 trillion package with a $1.5 trillion-plus proposal, to include a $20 billion aid extension for airlines.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cautioned that Democrats and the White House remained locked in a debate over dollars an values, but expressed optimism that a deal could be reached.

“The market is viewing the stimulus as a lubricant for the economy, to take the market to the next level and to keep the consumer strong,” said Matthew Keator, managing partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts.

“One of the encouraging things is the Speaker and the Treasury Secretary (Steven Mnuchin) have kept an open mind, which leads to the adage ‘hope springs eternal.'” Keator added.

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