Buoyant end to the week on Wall Street

Stocks were bouncing around their highs of the days late in the trading session in New York, leaving the Dow on track to finish up for the week.

With under an hour to its close, the Dow was trading up 0.5% or 75 points at 15,201. The S&P 500 was up a similar percentage, while the NASDAQ 100 rose 0.6%.

Many of the issues that have been major catalysts for the financial markets this year have been at play this week, including developments at the Fed, corporate earnings and, of course, fiscal woes in Washington.

It highlights just how toweringly important the debt-ceiling debate is that Janet Yellen’s nomination as the next Fed Chairperson – a safe, experienced pair of hands with a dovish attitude toward stimulus – and the start of the third-quarter earnings season have all but been ignored by the financial markets in lieu of developments between the White House and Congress.

It is hopes of a deal being struck in Washington this weekend that is supporting today’s rally; the Associated Press has reported that Republicans in the House of Representatives have proposed a new deal involving both a debt ceiling increase and an end to the shutdown in exchange for a reduction in federal spending.

Consumer sentiment data released this morning by the University of Michigan shows expectations softening, but resilience in the current conditions component. The mid-month reading of the survey slipped to 75.2 from the 77.5 seen at the end of September, but the current conditions component rose, which is fairly reassuring considering the shenanigans in Washington.

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