Stocks cut losses as Schumer says Congress is ‘close’ to aid deal

Stock futures halted for trading as investors await stimulus bill

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Stocks pared losses in afternoon trading Monday after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Congress was “very close” to reaching a deal on a stimulus package to combat the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 200 points, cutting losses after dropping more than 900 points. The blue-chip average briefly wiped out its gains since Election Day 2016 when it slumped to session lows. 

The Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 1.3%, putting it on pace to erase nearly all of its gains since President Donald Trump was inaugurated. On Friday, stocks posted their worst week since the financial crisis.

Stocks dropped sharply in morning trading even as the Federal Reserve prepared to launch an expansion of lending programs in an effort to shield the economy from the virus. 

The Fed said it plans to purchase an unlimited amount of Treasurys and mortgage securities in a bid to support financial markets. It also said that it would purchase commercial mortgage-backed securities.

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