Producers of metals and other raw materials rose slightly in volatile trading as investors attempted to handicap the odds of a second round of coronavirus relief.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) is readying a new, scaled-down package on coronavirus aid that would include assistance to airlines, restaurants and small businesses, reportedly aiming at a price tag of around $2.4 trillion, down from the $3.5 trillion bill that Democrats passed in May.
It's unclear whether Republicans would continue to oppose a bill at that amount, after pushing for a much smaller price tag.
"The odds of Phase 4 stimulus are a close call," said strategists at brokerage Jefferies, in a note to clients.
"While still possible, there is a high risk that it does not happen this year. Without it, we would expect the economy to hit a major speed bump in the fourth quarter."
Capital expenditure and consumption -- two vital growth engines -- are likely to stall, the Jefferies strategists warned, though that damage would be cushioned, in part, by inventory restocking.
Gold futures were on track for their worst week in six months, currently off more than 4% at $1876.90 an ounce, as the dollar strengthened -- kryptonite for precious metals investment.
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