US Stock Indexes Mostly Flat Ahead of Retail Sales Report

The major U.S. stock indexes are treading water in the overnight session on Friday as investors await the latest retail sales data that will give investors clues about the strength of consumer spending.

Early in the session, the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 51 points. The benchmark S&P 500 Index and the tech-weighted NASDAQ 100 futures were both slightly lower.

Retail sales data, due Friday at 12:30 GMT, will offer an update on the recovery in consumer spending. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect retail sales to rise by 0.7% in September, following a 0.6% rebound in August. Excluding autos, sales were expected to rise by 0.4%.

Thursday Recap

On Thursday, U.S. stocks ended lower after a rise in weekly jobless claims compounded worries about a stalling economic recovery and fading hopes for more fiscal aid before the election.

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose to a two-month high last week, stoking fears the COVID-19 pandemic was inflicting lasting damage to the labor market.

Another report showed manufacturing activity in New York State fell more than expected in October.

In the cash market, the S&P 500 Index settled at 3483.34, down 5.33 or -0.16%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 28494.20, down 19.80 or -0.07% and the NASDAQ Composite closed at 11713.87, down 54.86 or -0.49%.

Fresh Stimulus Proposal

U.S. President Donald Trump said he is willing to raise his offer of $1.8 trillion for a COVID-19 relief deal with Democrats in Congress, but the idea was shot down by his fellow Republican, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The announcement helped the stock indexes recover from earlier steep losses and nearly turned them higher for the session.

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