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Stocks - Dow Ends Above Lows, but in Red on Congress Inaction

ellBy Yasin Ebrahim –  The Dow ended above session lows on Monday,  as investors weighed a failed bid from Republicans to advance their coronavirus aid package against bold new stimulus measures from the Federal Reserve at a time when infections continued to mount.

The Dow fell 3.04% to 18,591.93, well above session lows of 18,213.65. The Dow has nearly wiped all of its gains since President Donald Trump was elected. The index stood at 18,332.73 on Trump's election day. The S&P 500 slumped 2.93% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.27%.

Investor optimism from a wave of cash from the Federal Reserve was largely cast aside by events on Capitol Hill, with investors growing increasingly frustrated at lawmakers' inability to iron out their differences on a nearly-$2-trillion package to support the economy through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The economic stimulus bill, which requires the backing from both chambers of Congress, failed to gain the 60 votes needed to advance go a formal vote in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly said the procedural delays could push a vote on a stimulus bill out to Friday.  

The lack of progress on the bill comes as the coronavirus continued to spread, with infections reaching nearly 370,000 so far, and deaths topping 16,000 worldwide. But there was a sliver of hope, as Lombardy, Italy, ground zero of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, has seen a slowdown in cases. 

The number of new cases today in the region slowed to 1,550 from 1,691 on Sunday, said Attilio Fontana, the regional governor of Lombardy, according to media reports.

In the U.S., Covid-19 infections have surged above 42,000, with New York state accounting for the bulk of infections nationwide following a nearly-40% jump since Sunday.

The Fed, meanwhile, continued to provide support, expanding its asset purchases program to prop up credit markets at a time when some corporations in hard-hit sectors like travel and hospitality are at risk of falling into bankruptcy.

Energy stocks paced the decline in the broader market, shrugging off a jump in oil prices.

Boeing (NYSE:BA), however, surged 10% amid hopes the aviation industry may soon receive its bailout package to stem the impact from the coronavirus spread. The aircraft maker also announced it will temporarily suspend production at its Puget Sound area facilities in the wake of the state of emergency in Washington state amid the accelerating spread of the Covid-19 virus in the region.

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