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Stocks Rise Ahead of Biden's Stimulus Speech

01/14/2021 | 10:10am

By Anna Hirtenstein

U.S. stocks climbed Thursday as investors awaited details of the incoming Biden administration's plans for a fresh coronavirus relief package.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 103 points, or 0.3%, to 31164 shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 added 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.3%.

President-elect Joe Biden is expected later Thursday to unveil details on his proposed spending package to support households and businesses. Many investors are counting on additional stimulus to help the economy recoup wide-ranging losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions put in place to fight it.

Jobless claims data Thursday showed that 965,000 people applied for unemployment insurance in the week ended Jan. 9, more than economists had expected.

"How [the spending package] will be implemented down to the real economy, down to small companies, that will be key," said Luc Filip, head of private banking investments at SYZ Private Banking.

Among individual stocks, Delta Air Lines rose 2.7% after it said it ended 2020 at a loss but expected to have access to up to $19 billion of liquidity in the first quarter.

Tesla shares slipped 1.3% after regulators asked the car maker to recall about 158,000 vehicles over safety concerns.

Johnson & Johnson rose 1.5% after it said its experimental Covid-19 shot generated immune responses from a single dose, rather than two.

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.5%.

Italian 10-year government-bond yields rose to 0.662% from 0.587% Wednesday after former Premier Matteo Renzi said his party was leaving the ruling coalition. Bond yields rise as prices fall.

Italy is often seen as the weakest link among major economies in the eurozone, and political drama has previously sparked sharp selloffs in the country's government debt. "This is political noise, but still something that creates uncertainties," Mr. Filip said.

Among major European shares, Fiat Chrysler led decliners, falling 9.4% ahead of the distribution of a special dividend.

Carrefour lost 4.7% after France said it might block Canadian Alimentation Couche-Tard's nearly $20 billion bid for the French supermarket chain.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.9% after data showed that China's export growth in December declined from November.

Most other major benchmarks rose, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and Japan's Nikkei 225 both up 0.9%.

China's biggest tech companies climbed after The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. is expected to let Americans continue to invest in them, after weighing a ban. Alibaba Group gained 5% and Tencent Holdings climbed 5.6%.

Akane Otani contributed to this article

Write to Anna Hirtenstein at anna.hirtenstein@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

01-14-21 1009ET

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