US stocks end mixed as investors focus on COVID-19 aid

Wall Street’s major averages ended mixed as investors eyed fiscal stimulus in the United States amid the COVID-19 crisis.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 357.96 points, or 1.30 per cent, to 27,791.44. The S&P 500 was up 9.19 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 3,360.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 42.63 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 10,968.36, Xinhua news agency reported.

Six of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors closed higher, with energy up 3.08 per cent, outpacing the rest. Communication services dipped 0.46 per cent, the worst-performing group.

Meanwhile, US-listed Chinese companies traded mostly lower, with eight of the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P US Listed China 50 index ending the day on a downbeat note.

US President Donald Trump on Saturday signed a series of executive orders to extend certain COVID-19 economic relief after negotiations between Republican and Democratic lawmakers fell apart.

One of the president’s four orders will extend extra unemployment benefits through the end of the year at a reduced level of US $400 per week, instead of the US $600 approved by Congress in late March, which expired at the end of July.

The move has sparked criticism from Democrats, who might challenge the legality of the president’s executive action.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States hit over 5.07 million and fatalities surpassed 163,000 as of Monday afternoon, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

US equities advanced for the week ending Friday that saw the Dow rally 3.8 per cent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both gained 2.5 per cent.