US stocks gain ahead of Biden economic plan

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.4 per cent at 31,191.70. — Reuters pic
About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.4 per cent at 31,191.70. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Jan 14 — Wall Street stocks rose early today as markets anticipated the unveiling of President-elect Joe Biden’s economic plan while data showed a spike in jobless claims.

Biden late today is set to release a fiscal package to boost the coronavirus-ravaged US economy.

He has pledged the plan will include direct payments to individuals that would bring the total to US$2,000 (RM8,080) —  following US$600 payments approved late last month — as well as other support measures including help for small businesses.

The announcement comes as data showed applications for unemployment benefits rose sharply in the first week of 2021, with a surge of 181,000 — the biggest increase since the coronavirus pandemic began in March — bringing the total close to the one million level not seen since August.

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.4 per cent at 31,191.70.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.2 per cent to 3,817.72, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.3 per cent to 13,174.21.

Among individual companies, Delta Air Lines jumped 3.8 per cent after it reported a US$12.4 billion loss for 2020 but predicted a much better 2021 as coronavirus vaccines become more widespread.

Google-parent Alphabet rose 0.3 per cent as the company completed its acquisition of Fitbit. — AFP

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