Stock futures flat as stimulus deal remains unresolved

Stock futures were flat in overnight trading on Thursday as the future for additional fiscal stimulus remained uncertain.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 50 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures were both little changed.

The overnight action followed back-to-back losses for the S&P 500 as negotiations over a coronavirus relief deal dragged on. Lawmakers seek to pass a bill before lifelines expire at the end of 2020, but disagreements over state and local stimulus, unemployment assistance and stimulus checks still exist.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s staff informed congressional leadership offices that Senate Republicans likely would not support a $908 billion bipartisan proposal, according to NBC News. Earlier on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that bipartisan negotiations were leading to “great progress.”

“The tenor of headlines out of Capitol Hill around stimulus sounded a bit better than Mon-Wed but there’s still no sign of a breakthrough,” Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said in a note Thursday.

The House has passed a one-week federal spending extension to avoid a shutdown through Dec. 18 to buy more time to reach a stimulus agreement.

The Dow and the S&P 500 are down 0.7% and 0.8%, respectively, this week, on pace for their first negative week in three. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has dipped 0.5% during the same period, headed for its first losing week in four.

Without fresh stimulus, millions of Americans could lose unemployment benefits in the new year. Meanwhile, weekly jobless claims jumped last week to 853,000, the highest total since Sept. 19, as new lockdown restrictions weighed on businesses amid rising coronavirus cases.

Elsewhere, a key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended the approval of Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. The recommendation marked the last step before the FDA gives the final approval to broadly distribute the first doses throughout the U.S.

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