People are walking by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building during Covid-19 pandemic in New York on May 26, 2020.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Stocks could hang at record levels but gains may be capped until Congress agrees to a new stimulus package to help the economy and the millions of unemployed Americans.

Stocks were higher in the past week, and the S&P 500 flirted with record levels it set in February. It ended the week up 0.6% at 3,372.

In the coming week, there are some major retailers reporting quarterly results, including Walmart, Home Depot and Target, but the earnings season is mostly over and the market is entering a quiet period. There are minutes from the Fed’s last meeting, released Wednesday, and housing data, including starts Tuesday and existing sales Friday.

Investors had been watching efforts by Congress to agree to a new

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The market didn’t have any energy in this lazy summer session, which left each of the major indices little changed on Friday. However, they still managed weekly gains.

The Dow significantly outperformed its counterparts over the past five days by rising 1.8%. The S&P rose a little more than 0.6%, while the NASDAQ barely stayed positive this week by advancing .08%. It only advanced 8 points since last Friday’s close.

The big news of late has been the S&P, which spent the whole week attempting to close at a new high. The index broke through the Feb 19 record at 3386.15 a few times, but it just couldn’t stay above the mark.

It closed lower by 0.02% on Friday to 3372.85. Given such a small decline, it remains a little more than 13 points away from making history. So this will likely be a big story again next week.

The

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks fell on Friday as data out of China, the euro zone and the United States put a lid on expectations for a sustained global rebound, with traders already worried about a delay in U.S. fiscal stimulus.

FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York City, New York, U.S., June 26, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

A review of the U.S.-China trade deal initially slated for Saturday will be delayed due to scheduling issues and no new date has been agreed upon, according to sources familiar with the plans.

European shares were weighed further by a hit to travel stocks after Britain added more European countries, including France, to its quarantine list amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wall Street, a slowdown in retail sales growth last month and concern over further reluctance by consumers weighed on stocks, but the

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Friday, August 14, 2020

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Retail sales will offer a final look back at a stimulus-supported recovery.

In just a few hours, investors will get the July reading on retail sales.

Wall Street expects the report will show sales increased 2.1% last month, a more modest increase after a 7.5% jump in June.

June’s retail sales data brought this measure of consumer spending back above levels that prevailed before the pandemic.

And in doing so affirmed the strength of the economic comeback in the early part of the summer and the effectiveness of enhanced unemployment benefits and stimulus checks sent out as part of the CARES Act.

But over the last few weeks, the economic situation has changed considerably.

Oren Klachkin, lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, noted Thursday that the firm’s

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Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 5:27 a.m. ET

European stocks fell sharply on Friday, as the U.K.’s move to add France to its quarantine list hammered travel stocks and Chinese economic data disappointed.

Continued delays and concerns over a fresh round of U.S. stimulus also weighed on sentiment, and investors were looking ahead to a meeting of U.S. and Chinese officials to discuss their trade deal on Saturday.

The pan-European Stoxx 600

SXXP

index fell 1.8% in early trading, while the French CAC

PX1

slid 2.2%, and the German DAX

DAX

was 1.4% lower. The U.K.’s FTSE 100

UKX

slipped 2.4%, led lower by airline and hotel stocks. U.S. stock futures

YM00


ES00


NQ00

also pointed lower.

The U.K.’s decision to add France and the Netherlands to its quarantine list amid rising coronavirus cases hit travel and leisure stocks. From Saturday, travelers arriving in the U.K. from those countries will

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Stock benchmarks were cutting early declines midday Thursday, as first-time claims for unemployment benefits receded much more rapidly than anticipated, but investors appeared somewhat hesitant to push stocks much further near records amid a stalemate over a fresh coronavirus aid package.

What are major benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.17%

traded 38 points, 0.1%, lower, near 27,939, while the S&P 500
SPX,
+0.08%

added about 4 points, or 0.1%, to trade near 3,385. The Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
+0.89%

rose 99 points, or 0.9%, trading near 11,111.

The Dow on Wednesday rose 289.93 points, or 1.1%, to finish at 27,976.84, while the S&P advanced 46.66 points, or 1.4%, to close at 3,380.35, less than 0.2% below its record finish of 3,386.15 on Feb. 19. The large-cap benchmark traded as high as 3,387.89 in late trade. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 229.42 points, or 2.1%, finishing at 11,012.24.

What’s driving
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