Lack of Additional stimulus checks cause Wall St. gains to stumble

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Gains made from Wall Street’s main indexes record highs tumbled in volatile trading on Tuesday as investors worried the Senate may not quickly pass the $2,000 pandemic relief check to help jobless Americans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected President Donald Trump’s call for an increase in stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000. Final passage of the proposal would require 60 votes and the backing of a dozen Republicans.

McConnell’s move comes a day after Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the move to bump up direct payments.

Wall Street’s three main indexes opened at new highs for a second straight session after the signing of a $2.3 trillion package that restored jobless benefits and averted a federal government shutdown.

Meanwhile, more than 2 million Americans have been inoculated, helping investors looked past a surge in infections that topped 19 million, with California, a major US virus hot spot, likely to extend strict stay-at-home orders.

Unprecedented monetary, as well as fiscal stimulus and positive vaccine data, have helped the S&P 500 bounce back from a virus-led crash in March.

The benchmark index is set for its best fourth-quarter performance since 2003 as investors returned to economically-sensitive stocks from the so-called ‘stay-at-home’ plays on hopes of a recovery.

The CBOE volatility index ticked higher after hitting a three-week low with trading volumes expected to be light in the holiday-shortened week.

After a recent rally on hopes of full economic reopening, eight of the major S&P 500 sectors fell with energy and industrials declining the most.

Intel Corp jumped 5.3 percent after Reuters reported activist hedge fund Third Point is pushing the chipmaker to explore strategic options, including whether it should remain an integrated device manufacturer.

Shares of planemaker Boeing added 1.6 percent as its 737 planes are now flying in the United States for the first time after a 20-month safety ban was lifted last month.

Snapchat owner Snap gained 7 percent after Goldman Sachs raised its price target on the stock on upbeat revenue growth prospects.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.4-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.7-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 171 new highs and 24 new lows.