By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK (Reuters) – International stocks rose on Friday, with all three major Wall Street indexes posting weekly gains as investors grew more hopeful the U.S. government would provide additional economic stimulus.

Gold jumped and the dollar dropped as investors focused on the probability of forthcoming U.S. coronavirus relief.

Wrangling in Washington over pandemic aid has dominated global markets this week, and although U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to hammer out a deal, talks will continue despite Republican doubts.

Trump said in an interview on Friday that he wants to see a bigger stimulus package than either Democrats or Republicans were offering, a reversal from his threats at the beginning of the week that he would halt negotiations.

“We’re in one of those periods where Washington is driving Wall Street, be it either the presidential election or fiscal stimulus and today it was about the stimulus,” said David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York.

“Markets are up on the hope that more fiscal stimulus is coming but its really just hope, as communication from Washington has become somewhat erratic,” Carter added.

Trump expressed a desire to return to the campaign trail a week after announcing he had contracted COVID-19, but aides said he was unlikely to hold in-person events until Monday at the earliest.

Reuters/Ipsos polls show Trump’s approval rating plummeting, with Americans steadily losing confidence in his handling of the pandemic, while Democratic challenger Joe Biden makes gains in several key swing states.

“Biden is rising in the polls, creating both hope that fiscal stimulus is coming and less of a chance of a contested election which could be a real problem for markets,” Carter said.

Next week, investors’ attention will shift to reporting season,

Most banks have steered clear of the Federal Reserve’s loan program designed to buoy midsize businesses. One Florida lender is diving in.

Miami-based City National Bank of Florida has embraced the Fed’s Main Street Lending Program, which made its first loan this summer. Of the 252 loans issued through the program in its first three months, City National made nearly 100 of them, extending loans of up to $50 million to companies in states as far away as California and Wyoming.

But otherwise the program, which lets banks make loans to businesses and then sell most of the loan to the Fed, has received a lukewarm reception at best. Fewer than 100 banks have used it, as of the end of September, issuing about $2 billion of loans in a $600 billion program. More than $500 million of that was through City National. None of the nation’s largest banks have made one of the loans.

City National, a subsidiary of Chilean bank Banco de Crédito e Inversiones, said it is confident in its lending. “We’re in the risk management business,” City National Chief Executive Jorge Gonzalez said in an interview. The program’s terms, he said, seem more than reasonable, and the bank has made the loans largely to existing customers.

Using the Main Street program leaves a bank with less additional debt on its books and free to make more loans to other borrowers. Banks also earn fees from borrowers for making the loans.

City National made an early decision to sign up for the program, translating the Fed’s lengthy details into easy guides for customers. Loan officers at the 30-branch bank talked to Fed staffers frequently over the summer.

Miami-based City National Bank of Florida issued

NEW YORK (Reuters) – While good business news has been in short supply, investors may take slight comfort in coming weeks from U.S. corporate earnings that are likely to be bad, but not as bad as they have been.

Analysts expect third-quarter S&P 500 earnings to have fallen 21% compared with the year-ago quarter, a big improvement from second-quarter’s 30.6% drop that was most likely the low point for earnings this year because of coronavirus-fueled lockdowns, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Earnings reporting will get rolling next week with results from some of the big U.S. banks, likely impacted by near record low interest rates and the pandemic-induced recession. JPMorgan & Co.

and Citigroup

both release results on Tuesday.

(Graphic: S&P 500 Q3 earnings look bad, but not as bad as Q2 – https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-STOCKS/azgvoaoyzvd/chart.png)

Overall, S&P 500 quarterly results tend to beat analysts’ cautious expectations, and they could do that even more than usual this reporting season, strategists said. In a break from the typical trend, guidance from U.S. companies has been more positive than negative and estimates have been improving in recent weeks to reflect more upbeat guidance.

Whether that will be enough to support stocks in the weeks ahead is up for debate.

“Very rarely in the last 10 years have we seen earnings estimates moving higher after a quarterly reporting season,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

“That’s a very good sign. It’s a sign there’s a strong possibility this quarterly earnings season is now going to be better than expected,” he said. “The only problem is, now that we’ve entered the fourth quarter, a lot of the economic indicators are plateauing.”

That could weigh on fourth-quarter guidance and overshadow some of the better-than-expected results, he said.

Data this past

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Friday and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq registered their biggest weekly percentage gains since July as optimism over more federal fiscal aid grew.

Talks were expected to continue on a COVID-19 stimulus package, even though U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed on Friday to reach agreement.

Mnuchin floated a new proposal Friday afternoon, but an aide for Pelosi said it lacked a broad plan to contain the pandemic.

Recent trading on Wall Street has been dictated by headlines on fiscal aid, with the three main indexes tumbling on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump called off negotiations. He has since indicated he was willing to resume discussions.

“The market’s reacting well to Trump’s sudden turnaround in terms of a support package,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York, New York. “A lot of this has been politics, but a lot of people believe the economy really needs some economic support here, so that’s a good thing.”

The S&P 500 technology shares rose 1.5%, and the sector gave the S&P 500 its biggest boost. The small-cap Russell 2000 index climbed 6.4% for the week, posting its biggest percentage gain since early June.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 161.39 points, or 0.57%, to 28,586.9, the S&P 500 gained 30.31 points, or 0.88%, to 3,477.14 and the Nasdaq Composite added 158.96 points, or 1.39%, to 11,579.94.

For the week, the S&P 500 rose 3.8% and the Nasdaq climbed 4.6%, their biggest weekly percentage gains since July. The Dow added 3.3%, its biggest weekly gain since August.

Strategists say investors have also begun to digest the possibility of Democratic candidate Joe Biden winning the Nov. 3 presidential election after a fractious debate last month led to a

America’s biggest financial institutions are backing Democratic nominee Joe Biden, banking on a “blue wave” to boost the economy, a message that Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, touted during Wednesday night’s debate.

“Joe Biden’s economic plan, Moody’s — which is a reputable Wall Street firm — has said will create 7 million more jobs than Donald Trump’s,” Harris said as she faced off against incumbent Mike Pence.

TRUMP HITS BIDEN ON FRACKING: ‘PENNSYLVANIA WILL NEVER GO FOR HIM’

Despite Biden’s promises to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy and regulate banks more tightly, he has raked in five times as much as Trump in donations from the securities and investment industry, with an eye-popping sum of $51.1 million. The incumbent has garnered just $10.5 million, according to OpenSecrets.

Employees from Goldman Sachs have contributed $156,584 to Biden’s campaign, JPMorgan Chase has raised $379,057, and $257,821 has come from Morgan Stanley.

The same leaders in the banking sphere have contributed significantly less to Trump and outside groups supporting the Republican, to the tune of $11,943 from Goldman Sachs, $86,083 from JPMorgan Chase, and $96,010 from Morgan Stanley.

Additionally, backers from Wells Fargo have poured $267,000 into efforts to clinch a Democratic win while giving just $194,000 to Trump.

SILICON VALLEY REPORTEDLY POURING MONEY INTO BIDEN COFFERS — NOT SO MUCH FOR TRUMP

From Bank of America, Biden has raised $275,200, compared with Trump’s $164,911.

Earlier in the campaign, more progressive candidates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., blasted corporate donations.

During his failed run for the White House, Sanders said he didn’t want to be beholden to banks or mega-donors.

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