Text size

A face mask and debate program are left on the floor following the conclusion of the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio.


AP

U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday, as investors struggled to make sense of a fiery U.S. presidential debate, and analysts tried to determine whether that caustic exchange will move the needle on the November election.

Shortly after the open, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 175 points, or 0.6%. The

S&P 500

added 0.4%, while the

Nasdaq Composite

rose 0.2%.

In U.S. economic data, private sector payrolls increased by 749,000 in September, according to an ADP report. Revised second-quarter gross domestic product data showed a decline of 31.4%, compared with an earlier reading of a decline of 31.7%.

Amid choppy trading, the

Stoxx Europe 600 index

was last up 0.2%. The index was poised for a gain of just 0.3% in the quarter, but around a 1.4% drop for September, the biggest monthly drop since March, according to Dow Jones Market data.

Some analysts attributed an earlier drop in U.S. stock futures to the perception that Democratic candidate Joe Biden might have cemented his poll gains over President Donald Trump. A Biden win has been perceived as a negative for Wall Street, on the view he would introduce higher corporate and capital-gains taxes.

Trump and Biden argued and spoke over each other during the closely watched debate, but failed to debate on key policy points.

“The concern for Democrat Biden’s camp ahead of the debate was fluency on the night. He passed that test, but not with flying colors,” said Stephen Innes, global chief market strategist at AxiCorp, in a note to clients.

“But the extent to which the debate matters for markets