US stocks up despite shutdown angst

Wall Street stocks rose early Friday as markets assessed the risks of a possible US government shutdown that could damage the economy.

The early gains suggested investors were still not convinced a shutdown would take place amid partisan bickering in Washington. Yet a note from Schwab said “flared up political uncertainty continuing to hamper sentiment.”

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up a hair at 26,020.18.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.3 percent to 2,805.29, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.4 percent to 7,321.47.

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a short-term spending bill to keep the government open after funding runs out at midnight (0500 GMT), but the measure appeared to be dead in the Republican-controlled Senate. Leaders of both political parties were pointing fingers at one another.

Analysts say a government shutdown could damage the economy, particularly sectors that do extensive business with the government and especially if it is prolonged.

In earnings news, IBM fell 3.1 percent despite posting a year-over-year quarterly revenue increase for the first time in nearly six years. Analysts expressed disappointment that gains in some of IBM’s major growth businesses weren’t more robust.

American Express, another Dow component, lost 1.5 percent after announcing that it would suspend its share buyback programs due to a hefty one-time charge connected to US tax reform that reduced the company’s capital ratios. (AFP)