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Stocks rise as traders wait for economic aid

NEW YORK >> U.S. stocks climbed on Thursday, but only after pinballing through another shaky day of trading, as Wall Street waits to see if Washington can get past its partisanship to deliver another economic rescue package.

Tokyo’s market resumed trading Friday after a full-day outage due to a malfunction in its computer systems. The Nikkei 225 index jumped 0.7% to 23,354.51 shortly after opening following reports Japan is considering fresh stimulus for the economy.

The S&P 500 ended the day 17.80 points higher, or 0.5%, at 3,380.80, but it careened from an early 1% gain to a slight loss before arriving there.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 35.20 points, or 0.1%, to 27,816.90 after earlier bouncing between a gain of 259 points and a loss of 112. The Nasdaq composite rose a healthier 159.00 points or 1.4%, to 11,326.51 as big tech-oriented stocks propped up the market, much as they have through the pandemic.

However, the future contracts for both the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials lost 1.9% late Thursday after President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19.

Data reports released in the morning also painted a mixed picture on the economy.

One indicated the pace of layoffs across the country may have slowed last week, with the number of workers filing for unemployment benefits falling to 837,000 from 873,000. It’s a larger decline than economists expected.

Consumer spending also strengthened by more than expected in August, which is key because it’s the main driver of the U.S. economy. But other reports were more discouraging. Personal incomes weakened by more than expected last month, and growth in the country’s manufacturing sector also fell short of forecasts.

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