NEW YORK – U.S. stocks climbed on Thursday, but only after pinballing through another shaky day of trading, as Wall Street waits to see if Washington can get past its partisanship to deliver another economic rescue package.
The S&P 500 ended the day 17.80 points higher, or 0.5%, at 3,380.80, but it careened from an early 1% gain to a slight loss before arriving there.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 35.20 points, or 0.1%, to 27,816.90 after earlier bouncing between a gain of 259 points and a loss of 112. The Nasdaq composite rose a healthier 159.00 points or 1.4%, to 11,326.51 as big technology-oriented stocks propped up the market, much as they have through the pandemic.
Such big swings have become typical recently, as investors handicap the chances of a deal on Capitol Hill to send more cash to Americans, restore jobless benefits for laid-off workers and deliver assistance to airlines and other industries hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued their talks on Thursday, but no breakthrough arrived before stock trading ended on Wall Street. Instead, there were only hopes that were periodically raised and dashed as government officials took turns criticizing each other.
"The market, for lack of really anything else to trade off of, has responded to these headlines on the potential for stimulus," said Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
Continued strength for Big Tech stocks helped to lift the market. Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Netflix, Facebook and Google's parent company alone accounted for the bulk of the S&P 500's gain.
In Asian markets, trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was suspended due to a technical failure in its computer systems.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange said it plans for normal trading to resume on Friday. Officials said trading was halted early Thursday because rebooting the huge system after the malfunction would have caused confusion.
TSE President Koichiro Miyahara repeatedly apologized for the disruption to trading on the world's third-largest exchange.