US stocks close lower

By CNN Business

Updated 6:28 p.m. ET, November 18, 2020
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4:03 p.m. ET, November 18, 2020

Stocks finish in the red

From CNN Business' Anneken Tapp

Stocks weakened further into the close on Wednesday after spending most of the session in the red.

Pfizer’s announcement that its Covid-19 vaccine is 95% effective did little to soothe the market, as the pandemic continues to rage on and infection numbers are on the rise.

3:33 p.m. ET, November 18, 2020

More than 700,000 jobless claims are expected tomorrow

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

As the pandemic keeps raging, millions of people remain out of work. Economists expect another 707,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits in tomorrow's Labor Department report.

If that prediction comes true, it would be hardly changed from the week before. Economists have long been worried about the slowdown of the recovery, and this might just be proof.

Continued jobless claims, which count people who have applied for benefits for at least two weeks in a row, are expected at 6.5 million, slightly below the prior week's 6.8 million.

Neither of these estimates include claims filed under the government's various pandemic programs, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program designed for workers like the self-employed.

1:55 p.m. ET, November 18, 2020

Stocks turn red

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

Maybe Dow 30,000 just wasn't meant to be.

Stocks turned red across in the early afternoon, with the Dow falling 0.2%, or 55 points. The S&P 500 was down 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.1%.

Clearly more good news from the vaccine front -- today it came from Pfizer (PFE) again, saying its vaccine was 95% effective -- didn't do much to investor confidence. After Monday's sharp rally at the latest, investors all know there will be a vaccine. The only problem: it's not here yet.

1:16 p.m. ET, November 18, 2020

This is a great environment for risk taking: investor

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

Stocks are climbing today and the Dow is edging ever closer to 30,000 points. While the economy is still far from its pre-pandemic health and the pandemic rages on, it's a good environment for investors.

"We're in an economic regime right now that is favorable for risk taking," said Daris Dale, managing director at Hedgeye.

Hopes for additional fiscal stimulus have added more fuel to the fire.

"Cyclicals, high beta, a lot of sectors are out there that have underperformed this year that are likely going to outperform in the near term," Dale said on the CNN Business digital show Markets Now.

Investors should think about making their way into energy, materials and industrials stocks, as well as real estate investment trusts.

"They're going to have to get there, because they will outperform next year," he said.

1:11 p.m. ET, November 18, 2020

'Amazon Pharmacy won't affect us,' says GoodRX co-CEO

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

Amazon's (AMZN) launch of Amazon Pharmacy has slammed pharmacy stocks. But investors are getting ahead of themselves, said Doug Hirsch, co-CEO of GoodRX (GDRX) on the CNN Business digital show Markets Now.

"I'm not actually sure that's the right comparison," Hirsch said when CNN's Alison Kosik asked him whether he considers Amazon a competitor.

GoodRx has offered lower prices on some products, and some GoodRX discounts can be used at Amazon Pharmacy, Hirsch said.

"In short, we actually don't think [the Amazon announcement] will impact us much," Hirsch said, but investors seem to think otherwise.

GoodRX's shares were down 5.3% Wednesday.

1:11 p.m. ET, November 18, 2020

Better days are on the horizon: strategist

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The pandemic has been devastating but better days are on the horizon, according to Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets.

"We believe that stocks are in a 20-year bull market, we made that call in 2010," Belski told Alison Kosik on the CNN Business digital show Markets Now. "Clearly 2020 has put that to the test, but with respect to Covid-19 all of us in society and in the investing world are learning to coexist with the virus."

But we should also cut ourselves some slack for how much people have adapted to the new normal this year, Belski said.

"Better times are on the horizon. I think the market is telling you that," he said. "I think it's also telling you not to be so reactive as some investors were," at the start of the crisis.

Belski's year-end target for the S&P 500 is 3,650 points, about 1% above where it is trading today.

That said, different parts of the economy will continue to evolve differently, Belski said. The economy of the next three to five years might indeed look different that the economy of the past three to five years.

12:10 p.m. ET, November 18, 2020

Stocks are up at midday

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

It's noon and stocks are in the green.

After starting the day mixed, if not a bit sluggish, the three major indexes are all modestly higher now.

It's not exactly the market reaction we've gotten used to after positive news from the vaccine front: On Monday, when Moderna (MRNA) announced trial data that show its Covid-19 vaccine is 95% effective, stocks rallied to new all-time highs.

Investors seem to be weighing the great news from the trials with the fact that the vaccines won't be widely available for at least several months.

The Dow is up 0.3%, or 85 points, while the broader S&P 500 is up 0.2%.

The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.2%.

10:41 a.m. ET, November 18, 2020

Jamie Dimon wants a carbon tax

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

If a big Wall Street banker is not the first person you think of to suggest carbon taxation, you were in for a surprise this morning.

"We need a carbon tax," JPMorgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon said at the virtual New York Times Dealbook conference.

"If you do it right you can do it cheap," he added, suggesting that carbon emissions should be taxed on a progressive scale. That way, the levy would incentivize people to make persistent efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, he said.

But to make it work, we would also need a global carbon agreement, Dimon said.

"We have a common interest with China and India to solve this problem," he added.

10:14 a.m. ET, November 18, 2020

Washington needs to 'get the job done' on stimulus, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon says

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

Jamie Dimon vented his frustrations with Washington at the virtual New York Times Dealbook conference this morning.

“We need to help the citizens of America," the JPMorgan (JPM) CEO said. "We need fiscal stimulus, we need to help the unemployed and small businesses until [...] a vaccine is here.”

The pandemic has disproportionately affected lower-income earners, he added. "That part of society is suffering." His message to lawmakers in DC was clear: "Just get it done."

"Thank god we have these vaccines coming. Thank god," Dimon said.

But first, "we need a peaceful transition" to the next administration, whether you like the election outcome or not, he said.

On the role of business in policy making, Dimon made an appeal for collaboration between the private and public sectors.

"You’re not going to get diversity and inclusion without companies doing it," he said. "I’m a patriot before I’m the CEO of JPMorgan."