Stocks Rally With Washington in Focus

Eufemia Didonato

Here’s what you need to know: Stocks on Wall Street rallied on Monday, rebounding from a tumble Friday that had come in the wake of President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis. The S&P 500 rose 1.8 percent. The gains accelerated Monday afternoon after Mr. Trump tweeted that he would be leaving the […]

  • Stocks on Wall Street rallied on Monday, rebounding from a tumble Friday that had come in the wake of President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis.

  • The S&P 500 rose 1.8 percent. The gains accelerated Monday afternoon after Mr. Trump tweeted that he would be leaving the hospital, where he has been since late Friday. Technology stocks outpaced the broader market, with the Nasdaq composite gaining more than 2 percent.

  • Growing hopes about the prospects for another round of fiscal stimulus — in a Twitter message on Saturday President Trump expressed support for getting another stimulus agreement done — also seemed to improve investors optimism about the economy.

  • Negotiators on Monday continued efforts to break through an impasse over the package, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, agreeing to exchange additional documents ahead of another scheduled phone call Tuesday.

  • “By no means is this latest package over the line, but with the President now publicly pushing it, perhaps as an offshoot of his diagnosis, momentum continues to appear to be pushing the size of the package higher,” John Briggs, a strategist at NatWest, wrote in a note to clients early Monday.

  • Oil futures rose more than 6 percent, reversing some of last week’s losses. The price was also buoyed by a strike in Norway that closed four oil fields and cut production in Western Europe’s largest oil producer. Shares of energy companies, including Halliburton and Occidental Petroleum, rose.

  • Yields on Treasury bonds rose sharply, with the yield on the 10-year note touching 0.75 percent, a range not seen since June. That increase in bond yields suggests some investors are upgrading their expectations for stronger growth, a key factor in determining government bond yields.

  • Mr. Trump’s diagnosis has added to the numerous concerns already making investors anxious as the market’s rally has sputtered over the last few weeks. The prospect of Democratic victories in November has investors considering the potential effects of higher corporate taxes and increased regulation. There is also the worrying possibility that Mr. Trump could refuse to accept the results of a vote that he loses, a possibility he has raised on a number of occasions.

Credit…Patrick Semansky/Pool via REUTERS

Negotiators on Monday continued efforts to break through an impasse over a coronavirus stimulus package, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, agreeing to exchange additional documents ahead of another scheduled phone call Tuesday.

Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Mnuchin “discussed the justifications for various numbers” in a roughly one-hour phone call on Monday, before agreeing to exchange documents later ahead of another call on Tuesday, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi said.

Since approving nearly $3 trillion in economic relief this spring, Congress and the White House have failed to reach agreement on another package, despite widespread agreement that another round of relief is needed to maintain the country’s economic recovery.

Though talks all but collapsed in early August, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Mnuchin have resumed discussions in recent days as companies continue to furlough or lay off tens of thousands of Americans and local governments, schools and industries across the country lobby for more congressional relief.

Credit…Charlotte Kesl for The New York Times

The plight of the entertainment industry deepened on Monday as the British company Cineworld, which owns Regal Cinemas in the United States, said it would temporarily close all 663 of its movie theaters in the United States and Britain. The move was expected to affect 40,000 employees in the United States and 5,000 in Britain.

The chain had reopened in parts of the United States and Europe over the summer, but about 200 theaters, mostly in California and New York, have been shut since the pandemic began in the spring.

The news sent Cineworld’s stock spiraling. It fell as much as 60 percent when the stock market opened in London on Monday. It was later trading about 38 percent lower on the day.

The company said it could not entice viewers back without a pipeline of new films. The news came after Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced on Friday it would push back the release date of the latest James Bond film, “No Time to Die,” to April from this fall — the second time its release date has been delayed because of the pandemic.

Mooky Greidinger, the chief executive of Cineworld, said on Sky News that delays in the opening of many films — including “Mulan,” “Black Widow,” “Wonder Woman 1984,” as well as the Bond movie — meant the company “didn’t have the goods” for customers.

“It’s the wrong decision from the studios to move the movies in such a way,” Mr. Greidinger said.

He added that he felt the company had been able to reopen with enough health and safety precautions to welcome back customers, and cited “Tenet,” the Christopher Nolan film that opened in August and September, as the most significant release this year. It has made more than $300 million in the box office globally but just $45 million of that was in the United States.

The delays by studios in releasing what would have been before the pandemic blockbuster movies, is hurting theaters all over the world. Tim Richards, the chief executive of Vue International, said that the studios were being too U.S.-centric by not acknowledging reopenings in Europe and China. “We are struggling. We are absolutely struggling,” he said on Sky News.

Mr. Greidinger did not specify when Cineworld and Regal theaters might reopen. That “might be in two months, it might even a little bit longer,” he said.

In September, Cineworld reported a pretax loss of $1.6 billion for the first half of 2020. In total, the company operates 780 cinemas and is leaving about 100 locations in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania open. Last year, 90 percent of the company’s revenue was generated in the United States and Britain.

In a memo to staff in Britain, Mr. Greidinger said: “Unfortunately, we cannot operate without a proper flow of products and sadly, you, like I, have seen audience numbers dwindle to tiny and unsustainable levels and the delay of Bond has been a huge blow.”

He did not say what would happen to workers’ jobs. The British government has announced a new job support program, in which employers and the government would share the cost of topping up the wages of employees whose hours were reduced. It will replace a more generous furlough program that ends later this month. Echoing critics of the government’s new plan, Mr Greidinger told staff that because it places a greater financial burden on employers it “cannot work for us when we have almost no income.”

Anna Schaverien contributed reporting.

Credit…Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

Do politics belong in retirement planning? Whether financial advisers like to address the topic or not, clients are bringing it up.

“I’ll get a phone call from one client thinking the world is falling apart, and then another thinking it’s the best time to get into the market — in the same day,” said Robert Schmansky, founder of Clear Financial Advisors in Livonia, Mich.

Financial advisers discourage people from letting political news cycles influence their retirement planning strategies. Political winds can shift in a short period, sometimes drastically, whereas saving and investing for retirement are a process that takes place over decades.

“Whenever a prospective client reaches out to me, I always ask how they found me, and what I’m getting told is they’re especially doing searches on trying to find a Black financial adviser,” said Zaneilia Harris, president of Harris & Harris Wealth Management Group in the Maryland suburbs of Washington. “I think the mere fact that they’re seeking out a Black adviser is political,” she said, adding that she observed an increase in prospective clients contacting her beginning in June.

But investors worried about their adviser’s political outlook can learn more — and hopefully set their mind at ease — with these suggestions.

  • If you think politics factor into your adviser’s strategy for your nest egg, ask for explanations. A good retirement planner will be able to articulate how the actions taken by politicians can — and can’t — affect your portfolio.

  • When emotions are running high, resist the urge to dismiss your adviser on the spot — a knee-jerk reaction when it comes to your retirement security isn’t a great idea.

  • Talk to your adviser about how specific economic policies affect your portfolio. Politics might be about people, but your investment decisions should be informed by the ramifications of, say, bond-buying or tax-code changes.

  • Try to keep an open mind. A different viewpoint from one you hold might give you valuable insight for your long-term savings goals.

  • If you want to integrate your political views more directly into your retirement planning, some advisers suggest working with someone who has knowledge and expertise in E.S.G. (environmental, social and governance) investing strategy.

Credit…Erin Scott/Reuters

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that President Trump’s positive test for coronavirus “changes the dynamic of stimulus talks.” But developments since suggest that the sides are still far apart on negotiating a new pandemic aid package, according to today’s DealBook newsletter.

Those pushing hard for a bill include the White House. Mr. Trump tweeted from the hospital on Saturday that the country “wants and needs” more stimulus. For Mr. Trump, a deal would serve as a sign of his authority, taking attention away from his health and unfavorable polls.

Congressional leaders, though, are still haggling. When asked Sunday whether Mr. Trump’s comments meant the two parties were closer to a deal, Ms. Pelosi demurred: “No, it means that we want to see that they will agree on what we need to do to crush the virus so that we can open the economy and open our schools safely.” She said that the parties were “making progress” toward a deal, but with Mr. Biden ahead in the polls, Democrats may feel they have the upper hand in negotiations.

On the Senate side, the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is balancing competing interests among his Republican colleagues — some want a deal to bring home to constituents and others are worried about approving another large spending deal. Adding to the difficulties, the senate has delayed its next sitting until Oct. 19, to account for positive coronavirus tests among Republican members.

Hanging in the balance are jobs and the economy. The longer people are out of the work, the harder it is for them to come back, suggesting that we may be entering the slow, grinding phase of a recovery that could tip into recession. There are still about twice as many people out of work now than before the pandemic, and without aid akin to what was in the first stimulus bill, weaker consumer spending, missed rent payments and other factors could ripple through the economy and the financial system.


CreditCredit…By Pablo Rochat

Most shoppers these days are able to routinely buy common household items like toilet paper, paper towels, pasta and beans that had been in short supply in the early weeks of the pandemic, when consumers were loading up their pantries.

But Clorox wipes remain stubbornly elusive, and for Clorox, meeting the heightened demand not only this year but well into next year will remain a challenge.

  • Only one of the five plants Clorox owns in the United States assembles the finished canisters of wipes; the company also contracts with third-party manufacturers to make the wipes. This summer, Clorox added a third shift to the plant it owns in Atlanta, running it around the clock, and increased the number of outside plants it used to make wipes.

  • The company also reduced the number of products it makes to focus on high-demand items like wipes. For instance, a new wipe that can be composted but doesn’t disinfect was sidelined.

  • Increased demand for disinfecting and cleaning products is hitting Clorox’s supply chain, making it difficult, at times, to obtain the individual pieces that make up a canister of wipes. These include the plastic container, the lid, the label, the fragrance, the five or so chemicals that are the disinfecting agents, and the substrate, or the clothlike fabric. They all come from different suppliers, most of them in the United States.

Credit…Stefano Ukmar for The New York Times

Despite hopes that New York’s real estate market would spring back to life over the summer after the coronavirus lockdown was lifted in June, sales continue to stagnate, according to a new report from the brokerage firm Douglas Elliman.

Among the findings:

  • The number of closed sales in Manhattan was down by 46 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2019.

  • Inventory was up by 27 percent — the highest gain since 2009 — and demand remains soft.

  • The median sales price for apartments, $1.1 million, was 7 percent higher than at the same time last year.

  • “The Manhattan market is crawling out of lockdown and has clearly been the outlier in the region in terms of coming back,” said Jonathan Miller, a New York appraiser and the author of the report.

  • Sales of higher-end properties, especially those in the resale market, remained flat in the second and third quarters, suggesting that sellers in the luxury sector aren’t as flexible on prices and don’t have the same sense of urgency to sell quickly. The number of condo and co-op sales in this sector dropped 47 percent this quarter compared with the same time last year.

  • One category of the market that strengthened was new development. Sales of new apartments in Manhattan represented 15.6 percent of all sales this quarter, and median prices jumped by 18 percent, to $2,886,098, from $2,449,020 in the third quarter of last year.

  • The month of September was the most active, by far. Shaun Osher, the founder and chief executive of CORE Real Estate, said two factors led to this shift: the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. As people returned to the city, the number of in-person showings skyrocketed. “If I had to guess, the number of showings are up 10 times what it was in August,” Mr. Osher said.

  • Some users were unable to connect to Slack, the business communication platform, on Monday, the company reported on its website. The outage delayed messages, previews and other services on the company’s browser, desktop and mobile applications, though Slack was able to restore some services by noon. Slack shares rose 1.6 percent in midday trading.

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