Stock Market Today: Stocks Slip Ahead of Trump-Biden Tilt

A new rescue package unveiled by House Democrats, as well as more encouraging housing data, couldn't get investors' minds off Tuesday night's debate.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Traders showed a little timidity in a weak Tuesday session preceding the first presidential debate.

House Democrats unveiled a new COVID rescue package that includes another round of stimulus checks and would revive the "bonus" $600 weekly unemployment benefit – and at a slimmed price tag of $2.2 trillion, from $3.4 trillion previously. While Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were scheduled to talk later tonight, experts still gave the bill little chance of passage in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Also Tuesday, a Case-Shiller index showed continued strength in the housing market – home prices rose 4.8% nationally in July, versus a 4.3% gain in June.

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Nonetheless, stocks lost a little ground, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sliding 0.5% to 27,452.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The S&P 500 declined 0.5% to 3,335.
  • The Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.3% to 11,085.
  • The small-cap Russell 2000 lost 0.4% to 1,504.

What Tonight's Debates Mean for Stocks

Investors might have been looking ahead – whether out to later this week, when we get the next round of weekly unemployment data (Thursday) and September's jobs report (Friday), or to later tonight, when President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden face off.

What should investors expect out of tonight's debate? Well, if past is precedent, Tuesday night's verbal round of sparring likely won't provide an accurate signal of who will win the election or what stocks will do until then, says LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. But, he adds, "2020 is unlike any year we've ever seen before, so we could be one Howard Dean gaffe or Ronald Reagan zinger away from a major sway in this election."

Wall Street seems to have a much clearer picture of which areas of the market should benefit from a Trump or Biden win, however.

For instance, a Biden win could give new life to these 10 stocks, which include "green" companies and infrastructure plays. Conversely, if Donald Trump is re-elected, experts like the prospects for the financial and energy sectors, among this list of potential winners.

It also would give Trump an opportunity to improve on his stock-market record; his administration currently ranks among the top of all time. Here, we take an updated look at just how well Trump has done – and which presidents he still has to overtake.

Kyle Woodley
Senior Investing Editor, Kiplinger.com

Kyle is senior investing editor for Kiplinger.com. As a writer and columnist, he also specializes in exchange-traded funds. He joined Kiplinger in September 2017 after spending six years at InvestorPlace.com, where he managed the editorial staff. His work has appeared in several outlets, including U.S. News & World Report and MSN Money, he has appeared as a guest on Fox Business Network and Money Radio, and he has been quoted in MarketWatch, Vice and Univision, among other outlets. He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a BA in journalism.