Wall Street drops as stimulus delay weighs; Disney soars
By Shriya Ramakrishnan and Medha Singh (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes slipped on Friday and were set to register their worst week since late October, as doubts over fresh economic stimulus dented confidence, even as regulators inched toward emergency use approval of a COVID-19 vaccine. A 13% jump in the shares of Walt Disney Co helped limit losses on the Dow, as the media company announced a heavy slate of new shows for its streaming services and said it expects as many as 350 million global subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024.
By Shriya Ramakrishnan and Medha Singh
(Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes slipped on Friday and were set to register their worst week since late October, as doubts over fresh economic stimulus dented confidence, even as regulators inched toward emergency use approval of a COVID-19 vaccine.
A 13% jump in the shares of Walt Disney Co helped limit losses on the Dow, as the media company announced a heavy slate of new shows for its streaming services and said it expects as many as 350 million global subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024.
Ten of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower in afternoon trading, with energy and financials among the biggest decliners, while the communication services index remained a bright spot.
With daily coronavirus death tolls at alarming levels, fresh business restrictions in many U.S. states and increasing layoffs, investors are counting on more fiscal relief to sustain a nascent economic recovery as most government aid has dried up.
However, alternating headlines on progress toward a stimulus deal have kept investors on edge, after optimism over a working vaccine pushed Wall Street's main indexes to record highs this week.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday raised the possibility of stimulus negotiations dragging on through Christmas.
"Investors are wondering what is it that Congress needs to hear before they decide to act ... their focus is more on politics than it is on the American economy," said CFRA Chief Investment Strategist Sam Stovall.
"The economy is not getting stronger and it needs at least a short-term shot in the arm."
While recent data has showed a faltering recovery in the labor market, a survey from the University of Michigan on Friday showed consumer sentiment improved more than expected in November.
"The synchronized effort (fiscal and monetary policy) and the vaccine should be a powerful combination to have a year of meaningful economic expansion," said Marco Pirondini, U.S. head of equities at Amundi Pioneer Asset Management.
At 11:46 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 134.01 points, or 0.45%, to 29,865.25, the S&P 500 lost 28.87 points, or 0.79%, to 3,639.23, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 125.49 points, or 1.01%, to 12,280.32.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue an emergency use authorization for Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine later in the day, the New York Times reported.
The U.S. drugmaker's shares, however, gave up premarket gains and fell about 1.5%.
Qualcomm Inc fell 8% and was among the top decliners on the benchmark S&P 500, following a Bloomberg News report that Apple has started building its own cellular modem for future devices, a move that would replace components from the chipmaker.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.9-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.9-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P 500 posted seven new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 227 new highs and 18 new lows.
(Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shounak Dasgupta)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.