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
added 0.4%, while the
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 is whether ‘undecideds’ are swayed either way. Polls in the coming days could provide more color on any movement,” added Innes. Investors remain concerned that a contested election result could drag on for weeks
Elsewhere, Asian markets finished mixed. Data showed China’s economic recovery continuing to gather steam, following its coronavirus outbreak earlier in the year. A survey of Chinese manufacturers showed economic activity increasing, while the official manufacturing PMI climbed as well.
(ticker: DIS) shares fell 0.7% after the company announced late Tuesday that it was laying off 28,000 workers due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The company closed its theme parks earlier this year and all but Disneyland in California have reopened—albeit at reduced capacity.
(MU) shares slid 4.7% despite reporting financial results that came in ahead of analyst expectations. Investors instead worried that the company said it expected profit margins to be pressured in the early part of 2021.
(REGN) shares climbed 0.4% after it said its experimental COVID-19 antibody cocktail reduced the viral load and improved symptoms in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
(MRNA) shares advanced 5.4% after announcing its experimental Covid-19 vaccine showed signs of working in older adults.
In the U.K., oil major
Royal Dutch Shell
announced it would eliminate up to 9,000 jobs by the end of 2022, as it expects to book charges of between $1.0 billion and $1.5 billion in the third quarter.