Stocks moved lower in mid-morning trading Tuesday, as the market cooled off from the rally the day before and as investors waited for the debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
The S&P 500 index was down 0.3% after briefly flirting with mild gains in the early going. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.4% as of 11 a.m. Eastern. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite was down 0.3%.
Banks, energy companies and stocks that depedn on consumer spending had some of the biggest losses, while several big technology and communications companies were higher.
Technology stocks, which have long been the driver of this year’s stock market moves, were mostly higher. Advanced Micro Devices, Twitter and Facebook were all up roughly 1%, although the stock had been higher at the opening of trading.
Investors are waiting for Tuesday’s 90-minute televised Trump-Biden debate. The debate comes as coronavirus deaths worldwide crossed 1 million. Cases in the U.S. are on the rise again as states attempt to reopen schools and factories. Tens of millions of Americans remain out of work.
Markets are watching the November election’s impact on tax policy and how long it might take to determine the winner.
“With a reasonable polling lead, one could argue that Joe Biden has more to lose here than President Trump,” said Robert Carnell of ING in a report. He noted that with some potential for gaffes or other colorful moments, the debate might be “cringe-worthy but unlikely to deliver an electoral car-crash for either side.”
Investors’ confidence has been supported by infusions of central bank support into struggling economies and hopes for development of a coronavirus vaccine.
Congress still is arguing over the size of a new support package after additional unemployment benefits expired. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have agreed to hold another round of stimulus talks. However with the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Congress has redirected much of its attention to President Trump’s nominee to replace her.