Stocks rally ahead of Biden coronavirus stimulus plan

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U.S. equity markets rallied Thursday morning as traders awaited details of President-elect Joe Biden’s proposed COVID-19 relief package.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 95 points, or 09.31%, in the opening minutes of trading while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were higher by 0.23% and 0.3%, respectively.

Biden’s proposal, which is expected to cost up to $2 trillion, could extend more help to households and businesses in addition to easing the burden on state and local governments. Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, was seeking a $1.3 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, President Trump on Wednesday was impeached for “incitement of insurrection.” The 232 to 197 vote saw all House Democrats and 10 of their Republican counterparts back the measure. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the upper chamber won’t be able to begin a trial until Jan. 19 at the earliest – one day before Biden’s inauguration.

Looking at stocks, Delta Air Lines Inc. halved its daily cash burn to $12 million during the three months through December while posting a slightly larger quarterly loss than Wall Street analysts had expected. The Atlanta-based airline lost a record $12.39 billion last year.

BlackRock Inc. reported quarterly earnings and revenue that exceeded estimates as assets under management reached a record $8.68 trillion.

Elsewhere, Tesla Inc. was asked by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall 158,000 vehicles due to failing touchscreens.

Meanwhile, GameStop Corp. surged for a second straight day amid a presumed short squeeze as short interest recently hit 138% of shares outstanding. Shares of the video-game retailer gained 58% Wednesday.

Intel Corp. shares continued their momentum from Wednesday when they gained 6.97% following the news that CEO Bob Swan would step down next month. He will be replaced by VMWare Inc. chief executive Pat Gelsinger.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 46 cents to $52.45 per barrel and gold slid $9.70 to $1,845.20 an ounce.

Britain’s FTSE 100 paced the gains in Europe, advancing 0.5%, Germany’s DAX 30 adding 0.24% and France’s CAC 30 edging up 0.17%.

Asian markets ended mixed with China’s Shanghai Composite index falling 0.91% while Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 0.85% and 0.93%, respectively.

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