S&P 500 flirts with record high as traders weigh Chinese stimulus against virus risk

a group of people standing in front of a computer: Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

© Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images
Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

  • US stocks climbed slightly on Monday as investors weighed fresh capital injections from the People’s Bank of China.
  • The central bank added 700 billion yuan ($101 billion) to China’s financial system on Monday, signaling the adoption of a more accommodative monetary-policy strategy.
  • The S&P 500 crept back near its February 19 peak after failing to reach records last week.
  • Oil slipped amid rebounding COVID-19 infection rates in Europe. West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 0.5%, to $41.80 per barrel.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US stocks gained on Monday as investors mulled new stimulus measures from China’s central bank and continued virus risks in the US.

The People’s Bank of China injected 700 billion yuan ($101 billion) into the country’s financial system on Monday, establishing a more accommodative monetary-policy stance from China’s government. The injection, made through China’s medium-term lending facility, could prelude interest-rate cuts or other, more potent easing measures.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET market open on Monday:

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The S&P 500 crept closer to its February 19 peak after failing to break through the threshold last week. Friday saw muted trading activity and major indexes closing mixed amid weaker-than-expected retail-sales data.

Investors continued to consider how a lack of fiscal stimulus could halt the US recovery. Senators went on recess on Friday, punting stimulus talks into September unless a majority of lawmakers decide to reconvene ahead of schedule. Economists have said the stimulus deadlock could plunge the country into a longer-than-necessary recession.

“There has been a solid V-shaped rebound so far and the US economy has already made up a lot of lost ground,” Michael Zezas, a managing director at Morgan Stanley, said in a note. “However, prolonged delays in stimulus could weigh on household consumption and prompt state and local austerity.”

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Barrick Gold surged in early trading after news that Warren Buffett bought a stake in the mining company. Berkshire Hathaway took in 21 million Barrick shares for roughly $564 million in the last quarter, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing published Friday said.

Tesla bounced following a new price-target boost from the Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. The analyst said he sees Tesla shares leaping 15% from Friday’s close on surging demand in China and technology reveals at the company’s Battery Day event on September 22.

Oil prices dipped as Italy, France, and Spain warned of rising virus indicators. West Texas Intermediate crude declined as much as 0.5%, to $41.80 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international standard, fell 0.7%, to $44.53, at intraday lows.

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