Markets News & Opinions

Dow Wobbles Over Stimulus Tussle Between Democrats & Republicans

The Dow Jones and broader U.S. stock markets are awaiting new trading catalysts following back-to-back gains. A Congressional stalemate over stimulus continues to hang in the balance.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by as much as 76 points on Tuesday.
  • House Democrats have tabled a new $2.2 trillion stimulus package that is considerably smaller than their previous proposal, but one that still leaves a substantial gap between them and the Republicans.
  • President Trump and Democratic candidate President Joe Biden will hold their first presidential debate Tuesday night.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market traded mostly lower on Tuesday, as investors monitored new stimulus developments in Congress following months of stalemate.

Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq Struggle

All of Wall Street’s major indexes opened lower, reflecting a tepid pre-market for U.S. stock futures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined by as much as 76 points before paring losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted modest declines on Tuesday. | Chart: Yahoo Finance

The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks edged down 0.1%. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index fell by 0.2%.

Losses were mainly concentrated in the energy and financial sectors. On the opposite side of the ledger, healthcare and utilities reported gains.

Equity markets are coming off a stellar Monday session that saw the Dow rise 410 points and the S&P 500 notch gains of 1.6%.

Rising share prices had little impact on the CBOE Volatility Index, which usually trades inversely with socks. The so-called “investor fear index” continues to trade well north of 25.00 on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historic average.

Democrats Table New Stimulus Bill

Investors are eyeing new developments in Congress Tuesday after House Democrats proposed a new stimulus bill that is considerably smaller than their previous proposal.

Dubbed The Heroes Act, the Democratic bill earmarks $2.2 trillion in new relief measures aimed at supporting small businesses, helping the struggling airline industry, and providing more funds for education and childcare.

The Democratic proposal is a significant rollback from the $3 trillion in aid that was previously pledged, but it remains well above the Republicans’ so-called “skinny bill.” Watch the video below:

Republican lawmakers have placed an upper limit of around $1 trillion in new aid. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are scheduled to hold a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the proposed legislation.

Elsewhere, investors will be keeping close tabs on the first of three presidential debates between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The first debate will take place in Cleveland, Ohio Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. ET. Talking points include the Supreme Court, the government’s response to Covid-19, and the ongoing protests.

Last modified: September 29, 2020 1:49 PM

Sam Bourgi

Financial Editor of, Sam Bourgi has spent the past decade focused on economics, markets, and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE, Yahoo Finance, and Forbes. Sam is based in Ontario, Canada and can be contacted at or at LinkedIn.