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US stocks end at records again as Biden eyes more stimulus

Wall Street stock indices closed at records again Friday as anticipation of a new fiscal relief package offset poor December jobs figures.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.2 percent at 31,097.97, its third straight record.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent to 3,824.68, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.0 percent to 13,201.98 — all-time highs for both indices.

The United States lost 140,000 jobs in December, according to government data, as the worsening coronavirus pandemic undermined the economy’s recovery and caused the first loss in employment since April.

But investors took heart as President-elect Joe Biden pledged a wide-ranging fiscal package to support the coronavirus-ravaged US economy.

“We need more direct relief flowing to families, small businesses, including finishing the job of getting people the $2,000 in relief direct payment,” Biden said at an event after naming new Cabinet nominees.

US stocks have rallied this week in spite of chaos in Washington after supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the nation’s Capitol building in an unsuccessful effort to block Biden’s election victory from being confirmed.

Fallout from those events continued to preoccupy lawmakers in Congress as Democrats vow to impeach Trump, but markets have been looking ahead to Biden’s inauguration and expectations for more fiscal support.

Among individual companies, Boeing fell 1.3 percent after it agreed Thursday to pay $2.5 billion in fines, settling a US criminal charge over claims the company defrauded federal regulators overseeing the 737 MAX, which was grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes.

Tesla continued its surge, vaulting 7.8 percent higher in an increase that lifted its market capitalization to around $835 billion, above that of Facebook. via Agence France-Presse

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