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Dow book s back-to-back gains but ends over 200 points off Thursday's peak as Wall Street weighs stimulus

The Dow industrials finished in positive territory on Thursday and marked consecutive gains, but the broader equity market enjoyed a firmer, if not choppy, advance as investors weighed progress toward a fresh round of coronavirus stimulus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day up about 35 points, or 0.1%, at about 27,817, briefly breaching a psychological round-number at 28,000 before retreating and briefly trading in negative territory, trading on developments tied to the ever-changing negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, with the talks between the pair producing bullish and bearish headlines throughout the session. Both are hopeful for a bill but the sides remain far apart on key details including the overall size of the relief package, which Democrats are hoping can approach $2 trillion or more. Mnuchin and Pelosi, after talking earlier in the day, agreed to convene again later Thursday, according to reports. Market participants view a fresh round of stimulus as a key factor in supporting equity buying and the broader economy. The S&P 500 index closed up 0.5% at 3,380, while the Nasdaq Composite Index ended the session up 1.4%, as investors turned to the perceived safety of technology-related stocks, which have been bought on the view that that sector will fare better amid the coronavirus pandemic. Investors are also awaited a key piece of data on Friday in the form of the nonfarm-payrolls report, which could be the ultimate catalyst for Wall Street.

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