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Stocks climb as Yellen, Biden’s pick for Treasury Secretary, backs stimulus plan

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Biden lays out stimulus plan to jump-start U.S. economy' Coronavirus: Biden lays out stimulus plan to jump-start U.S. economy
President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal on Thursday, which includes $415 billion to bolster the response to the coronavirus and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, some $1 trillion in direct relief to households, and roughly $440 billion for small businesses and communities particularly hard hit by the pandemic – Jan 14, 2021

Wall Street‘s main indexes rose on Tuesday as U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen advocated for a hefty fiscal relief package before lawmakers to help the world’s largest economy ride out a pandemic-driven slump.

At her confirmation hearing, Yellen said the benefits of a big package outweigh the costs of a higher debt burden.

President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn into office on Wednesday, outlined a US$1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal last week to jump-start the economy and accelerate the distribution of vaccines.

“Today it’s really all about Janet Yellen, and the push that she is taking for stimulus,” said Thomas Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta, adding that the focus on stimulus “sets an underpinning for the markets to continue to move higher.”

Read more: ‘There’s no time to waste’: Biden unveils stimulus plan to jump-start U.S. economy

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With earnings season underway, Bank of America initially rose as it also topped fourth-quarter profit estimates and joined JPMorgan, Citigroup Inc and Wells Fargo & Co in releasing some cash reserves to cover for coronavirus-driven loan losses, underscoring its confidence in the economy. The stock pared gains however and was last about flat.

Big U.S. bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s fourth-quarter profit more than doubled, dwarfing estimates after another blowout performance at its trading and underwriting business, but its shares also gave up early gains.

Wall Street’s main indexes rallied to record highs recently on hopes of a speedy economic recovery fueled by a hefty fiscal stimulus package and vaccine distribution.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Biden calls for unity as U.S. works to recover from COVID-19 pandemic' Coronavirus: Biden calls for unity as U.S. works to recover from COVID-19 pandemic
Coronavirus: Biden calls for unity as U.S. works to recover from COVID-19 pandemic – Jan 14, 2021

Eight of 11 S&P sectors advanced, with economy-linked energy , leading the way higher.

The defensive utilities, consumer staples and real estate were the only ones in the red.

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Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 117.84 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 30,932.1, the S&P 500 gained 30.63 points, or 0.81 per cent, to 3,798.88 and the Nasdaq Composite added 196.10 points, or 1.51 per cent, to 13,194.60.

General Motors shares jumped as one of the best performers on the S&P 500 after self-driving car marker Cruise, which the automaker is a majority shareholder, said it would partner with Microsoft to accelerate the commercialization of self-driving vehicles.

Tesla Inc shares rose after Jefferies raised its earnings estimates ahead of the electric-car maker’s fourth-quarter results next week.

Boeing Co shares climbed as Canada said it would lift a near two-year flight ban on its 737 MAX following two fatal crashes involving the model while a final clearance from Europe to resume flying the jet is expected next week.

(Reporting by Echo Wang; Additional reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Lisa Shumaker)