World shares up on stimulus hopes as Congress OKs Biden win

World shares up on stimulus hopes as Congress OKs Biden win

Stocks on Wall Street hit record levels on Thursday as investors bet a Democrat-controlled Congress will deliver more stimulus spending to help the USA economy overcome a steep pandemic-induced downturn.

The latest rally in the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq overcame labor market data early in the day that showed the US economy shed jobs for the first time in eight months in December as the country buckled under the COVID-19 onslaught.

At 11:36 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 80.08 points, or 0.26%, to 30,961.05, the S&P 500 gained 6.19 points, or 0.16%, to 3,809.89 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 78.76 points, or 0.60%, to 13,146.27.

"The market is now looking past Trump and it's looking forward to a Biden presidency, more structure and stimulus", said Dennis Dick, a trader at Bright Trading LLC.

But late in the session, the S&P retreated slightly from a its most recent peak following a report that Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin opposed bigger direct checks before addressing the coronavirus pandemic. And many investors are expecting Washington to soon try to send bigger cash payments to most Americans, spend more on infrastructure and provide other support for the struggling economy.

But the Dow gave up some of its early gains and finished the day up only 0.2%, as investors now seem anxious that more help might not soon be coming after all.

"The market, like it or not, tends to model things that have financial impacts", Hogan said.

The S&P 500 technology, up 2.2%, was set to more than make up for its losses from a day earlier, when shares of some of the biggest technology companies dropped on fears of increased regulation.

Some Wall Street bankers, however, expect a pullback in the near-term as exuberance from unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus have led to "frothy" asset prices. Slightly fewer USA workers applied for unemployment benefits last week than the week before, at 787,000, when economists were forecasting an increase.

The Dow is up 434.65 points, or 1.4%.

Events in the USA capital, Washington, DC, took an ugly turn when pro-Trump activists stormed and breached the Capitol building while Congress was finalizing certification of Democrat Joe Biden's win in the presidential election.

The S&P 500, the broadest measure of the U.S. equities market, was up 1.4 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite soared 2.3 per cent at midday.

DXC Technology surged 7% as France's IT consulting group Atos made a more than US$10 billion takeover approach for its U.S. rival, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter. Baidu was the largest gainer on the Nasdaq 100.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.72-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.98-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

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