U.S. Stocks Waver as Investors Await Stimulus Deal – The Wall Street Journal

U.S. stocks swung between small gains and losses Wednesday as investors scrutinized progress toward a stimulus package after new data showed a pullback in retail sales.

The S&P 500 hovered around the flatline, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ticked up 0.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged down 0.1%, or about 19 points.

Fresh data Wednesday showed that U.S. retail sales fell more than expected in November, declining 1.1%. Consumers have pulled back on purchases and limited holiday shopping in recent weeks as the coronavirus pandemic triggered new business restrictions. The decline marked the first month-over-month drop since April.

The weak report may intensify attention on negotiations in Washington over another coronavirus relief package. Congressional leaders were closing in on a deal Wednesday that was expected to include another round of direct payments to households, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Movement toward a fresh fiscal-stimulus package buoyed sentiment on Tuesday, allowing the S&P 500 to break a four-day losing streak.

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