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Getty President Donald Trump speaking at a White House Briefing.

At a White House press briefing, President Trump lent his support to the new bipartisan proposal on coronavirus relief that came out of the Problem Solvers Caucus, and specifically, support for more stimulus check payments.

Trump made his comments on September 16, the same day that Trump posted a tweet calling Democrats “heartless” and saying, “they don’t want to give STIMULUS PAYMENTS to people who desperately need the money.

Democrats are “heartless”. They don’t want to give STIMULUS PAYMENTS to people who desperately need the money, and whose fault it was NOT that the plague came in from China. Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!).

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2020

Negotiations on another stimulus package have been slow and stalled over the price tag of the bill, with Republicans wanting to keep it under $1.3 trillion and Democrats wanting the bill to be at least $2.2 trillion. The Problem Solvers Caucus would cost $2 trillion, according to Axios.

Trump Showed Half-Hearted Support for the Bipartisan Proposal

WATCH LIVE: President Trump holds a news conference at the White House — 9/16/2020President Donald Trump holds a news conference on Wednesday at the White House. President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Republicans to embrace a larger coronavirus stimulus package as a top White House aide showed more optimism about striking a deal with Democrats. » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe…2020-09-16T22:27:15Z

During the briefing, Trump showed half-hearted support for the Problem Solvers Caucus “COVID Stimulus Framework.” The framework, which was unveiled September 15, would include the following:

  • Stimulus checks of $1,200
  • School and childcare aid of $145 billion
  • Election aid of $400 billion
  • Local and state government aid of $500 billion
  • Renewed $600 supplements to unemployment benefits
  • Triggers to boost the bill by $400 billion if COVID-19 metrics worsen or reduce the bill by $200 billion if metrics improve

You can read more about what is in the framework here.

When asked by a reporter about whether he supported it, Trump said, “yeah.” However, he backtracked moments later, when asked if he endorsed the proposal, saying, “Well, not that proposal, but we’re getting closer. We’re getting closer.”

Trump also said that he “like(s) the larger amount” even if some Republicans disagree. Here’s what else Trump had to say about the proposal:

So the Problem Solvers came up with — it’s a group of people in Congress, as you know. You know them all. I know them all. They’re very good people. I guess you’d consider them dead center. But in many cases, they’re not. They’re left. They’re right. But they came up with this idea, and I think they’re well on their way to suggesting some pretty good things.

Now, I heard Nancy Pelosi said she doesn’t want to leave until we have an agreement. She’s come a long way. That’s great. If she said that, she’s come a long way. I agree with her. We should have an agreement. People should be helped, and they should be helped as rapidly as possible. And I think it’s going to happen. I think it’s very important.

Ultimately, Trump said, “I agree with a lot of (the proposal),” but seemed hesitant to support some portions, such as the $500 billion for state and local governments. However, Trump said there was room for negotiation and that he thought the report was a “positive” development.

Trump Says, ‘I Want to See People Get Money’

Pres. Trump claims the "Democrat-run states are the ones that are doing badly" but "as the president of everybody" he claims he'd like to try to work with Speaker Pelosi on another round of stimulus for Americans: "I would like to see it happen." https://t.co/4bN7vkGC7x pic.twitter.com/dodBtrHv9Y

— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 16, 2020

Trump has long supported adding stimulus check payments to Americans, as Vice President Mike Pence reported in early September. At that point, Trump supported more stimulus check payments going out to Americans.

Trump even floating the idea of using the $300 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Trump said that it would be “very appropriate” for Congress to allow him to use the funds, saying, “Now, we have $300 billion in an account that we didn’t use and I would be willing to … release that money and send it to the American people.”

During his White House press briefing, Trump said he wants to see Americans get money, “I want to see people get money,” he said. “I want to see — it wasn’t their fault that this happened. It was China’s fault, you know? … So I’d like to see the larger number. Yeah, I would like to see it. There are some things I disagree with, but I’m sure they can be negotiated.”

“It would be a very appropriate thing to release that to the American people and all we need is the sign-off,” he added. Pelosi, with whom Republicans have been negotiating for months, said in a CNN interview on September 11 that she would not agree to a deal on stimulus checks if it doesn’t also include food and housing security.

During negotiations, members of both parties have expressed some optimism. Pelosi told CNN, “I’m optimistic. I do think we should have an agreement, that’s what we all want.” One of the Republican negotiators, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, also told Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, “I’m more optimistic today than I have been in a long time.”

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Dow briefly turns higher to reverse opening skid, but stocks struggle to shrug off disappointing jobs data

Cycling: Dygert suffers massive crash in world championships time trial This suburban Minneapolis estate is one of the most expensive homes for sale in America Dow briefly turns higher to reverse opening skid, but stocks struggle to shrug off disappointing jobs data MARKET SNAPSHOT © Getty Images

Stock indexes flipped in and out of positive territory early Thursday, reflecting a market that is struggling to find its footing amid signs of softening economic data and a raft of uncertainties ahead.

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What are major benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)was trading 100 points, or 0.4%, lower at around 26,677, while the S&P 500 (SPX) slipped 10 points, or 0.3%, at about 3,227, briefly bouncing higher after breaching a level below correction territory — defined as a drop of 10% from a recent peak — for the index at 3,222.76. Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) gave up 40 points, or 0.3%, at roughly 10,599, after hitting an early intraday low at 10,520.22.

On Wednesday, the Dow ended with a loss of 525.05 points, or 1.9%, at 26,763.13, while the S&P 500 shed 78.65 points, or 2.4%, to close at 3,236.92. The Nasdaq Composite finished at 10,632.99, down 330.65 points, or 3%. The close left the S&P 500 down 9.6% from its record close of 3,580.84 hit on Sept. 2.

What’s driving the market?

Stocks were wobbly early Thursday, as investors waded through a morass of issues, including gridlock on Capitol Hill, which has sapped prospects for another spending bill. Market participants have long feared that a lack of fresh stimulus would derail an economic rebound.

The weekly report in claims highlights that job creation in the aftermath of the pandemic is stalling out, raising further fears about the shape of the U.S.’s return to normalcy.

Jobless claims rose 4,000 to 870,000, the Labor Department said Thursday, reflecting that slightly more Americans applied for state unemployment benefits in the week ended Sept. 19 than in the prior week. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had been looking claims to decline to 850,000. Claims in the prior week were raised 6,000 to 866,000.

“While jobless claims under a million for four straight weeks could be considered a positive, we’re staring down a pretty stagnant labor market,” wrote Mike Loewengart, managing director for investment strategy at E-Trade Financial Corp., in emailed remarks.

“This has been a slow roll to recovery and with no signs of additional stimulus from Washington, jobless Americans will likely continue to exist in limbo,” he said. “Further, a shaky labor market translates into a skittish consumer, and in the face of a pandemic that seemingly won’t go away without a vaccine, the outlook for the economy certainly comes into question.”

Remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in congressional testimony this week, as well as comments by other Fed policy makers, have also signaled that the central bank is taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to further monetary stimulus, while signaling the need for Congress to act on fiscal stimulus.

”Given the highly polarized state of politics in the U.S. at the moment, the markets do not expect action on any stimulus package with Congress barely able to agree on a continuing resolution in order to keep the government going,” said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management, in a note.

“That in turn has weighed on sentiment as current improvement in economic data has been modest at best suggesting that the V-shaped recovery is running out of steam after the initial burst of activity after the reopening of the U.S. economy,” he said.

On top of that, fears of a contested presidential election on Nov. 3 were also seen weighing on sentiment, analysts said. President Donald Trump on Wednesday refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power following the election, telling reporters “we’ll have to see what happens…I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster.” Trump was referring to mail-in ballots, which he has asserted, without evidence, are prone to widespread fraud.

Trump also suggested the Supreme Court will have to make a ruling on the outcome of the election, emphasizing that a new justice, replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg, should be confirmed before Election Day.

“Donald Trump’s continuing reluctance to confirm he would accept a loss in the presidential elections in little more than a month carries the threat of taking the country into unprecedented and potentially dangerous territory, though this may be little more than rhetoric and Trump could triumph anyway” said Russ Mould, investment director at U.K.-based brokerage AJ Bell.

“The bitter campaign for the White House is also preventing the U.S. from agreeing a fiscal stimulus package — leading to growing grumbles from the U.S. Federal Reserve and it was little surprise to see U.S. stocks fall against this backdrop,” he said.

Markets briefly got a boost from solid housing figures. Sales of new single-family homes in August exceeded an annual rate of 1 million for the first time since 2006. New home sales occurred at a seasonally adjusted, annual rate of 1.011 million, the Census Bureau reported Thursday. That represents a 4.8% increase from a pace of 965,000 homes in July, which was raised from previous level. Compared with last year, new home sales are up 43%.

Meanwhile, Powell was testifying before lawmakers for a third straight day. A number of other Fed officials will also be on the speaking circuit again on Thursday.

Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan was slated to deliver a speech at Texas Christian University at 8:50 a.m., while Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin speaks at a pair of events at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is set to deliver a speech to the Global Interdependence Center at noon, while Chicago Fed President Charles Evans is scheduled to deliver a speech to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce at 1 p.m. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic is slated to deliver a speech on systemic racism to a forum on minorities in banking at 2 p.m.

Which companies are in focus?
  • Shares of Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) fell more than 5% in premarket action after announcing it would launch a public offering of 14 million shares.
  • Accenture PLC (ACN) shares dropped 4% in premarket trade after the professional services and consulting company reported revenue and earnings that fell short of expectations.
  • Shares of FedEx Corp. (FDX)  rallied 1.2% in morning trading Thursday, to pace the gainers in the Dow Jones Transportation Average DJT, -0.24%, after Stifel Nicolaus analyst David Ross turned bullish on the package delivery giant, citing signs that FedEx has been a beneficiary of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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