US stocks edge lower as investors mull odds of stimulus deal by end of week
US stocks declined slightly on Wednesday as investors weighed the latest developments in reaching a stimulus agreement.* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to reach a deal before a Tuesday deadline and now aim to finalize a proposal before the weekend.* Senate Democrats blocked Republicans' $500 billion "skinny bill," leaving both parties stuck in a stimulus deadlock.* Oil futures sank on reports that US crude inventories climbed by 1.9 million barrels last week. West Texas Intermediate crude sank as much as 4.6%, to $39.78 per barrel.* Watch major indexes update live here .US equities finished slightly lower on Wednesday as investors waited for updates on stimulus-deal progress.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue to iron out differences on a massive round of fiscal support ahead of a new Friday deadline. Stocks whipsawed through the final hour of trading as investors weighed whether Pelosi's optimistic outlook for a bill would come to fruition.The White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, told CNBC on Tuesday that the administration and Democrats had recently made "good progress" but "still have a ways to go" before finalizing a deal. Odds of a pre-election breakthrough " continue to look very low ,"Goldman Sachs told clients in a note.Here's where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET market close on Wednesday:S&P 500 : 3,435.56, down 0.2%Dow Jones industrial average : 28,210.82, down 0.4% (98 points)Nasdaq composite : 11,484.69, down 0.3%"Negotiations are likely to continue, because neither side benefits from ending them," the bank's strategists added.Disagreements over a relief bill are still significant. The White House recently offered a $1.9 trillion measure, coming in well below Democrats' $2.2 trillion package. The "thorniest issues" aid for states and liability protections also present sizable roadblocks, Goldman said in its note.But Senate Republicans have balked at a trillion-dollar price tag and aren't likely to bring either to a vote. Democrats blocked Republicans' $500 billion proposal in the Senate Wednesday afternoon, leaving both parties trapped in stimulus limbo.Wednesday's tepid session followed a mild upswing in Tuesday trading after Pelosi's encouraging remarks. Investors largely shrugged off the government's antitrust lawsuit against Google and stayed hopes for a near-term stimulus breakthrough.Netflix dragged on indexes after its third-quarter report missed Wall Street expectations. Quarterly subscriber additions of 2.2 million fell below the 3.3 million estimate, and profit was similarly disappointing.Snap surged after beating expectations for third-quarter profits and revenue. Daily active users climbed by 11 million to 249 million.Earnings season will only get busier on Wednesday. Companies reporting quarterly figures include Tesla , Chipotle , Verizon , and CSX .Nikola leaped after General Motors President Mark Reuss said he's still confident the automakers can finalize the $2 billion partnership announced in September. The firms face a December 3 deadline, and talks are ongoing.Bitcoin spiked to its highest level since July 2019 after PayPal announced it will soon allow its users to buy, trade, and sell cryptocurrencies. More than 26 million merchants using PayPal will be able to accept cryptocurrency as a funding source next year, according to a Wednesday press release.The platform's acceptance of bitcoin and other tokens is"the biggest news of the year in crypto," billionaire investor Mike Novogratz tweeted ."All banks will now be on a race to service crypto," he added. "We have crossed the rubicon people."Spot gold gained as much as 1.3%, to $1,931.38 per ounce, at intraday highs. The US dollar sank against peers, and Treasury yields climbed.Oil futures declined after the Energy Information Administration reported US crude inventories jumped by 1.9 million barrels last month. West Texas Intermediate crude sank as much as 4.1%, to $39.78 per barrel. Brent crude , oil's international benchmark, fell 4%, to $41.45 per barrel, at intraday lows.