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Friday, April 23, 2021
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Wall St closes higher as Yellen backs more stimulus

Wall Street’s main indexes rose on Tuesday (January 19) as U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen advocated for a hefty fiscal relief package before lawmakers to help the world’s largest economy ride out a pandemic-driven slump.

At her confirmation hearing, Yellen said the benefits of a big package outweigh the costs of a higher debt burden.

President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn into office on Wednesday (January 20), outlined a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal last week to jump-start the economy and accelerate the distribution of vaccines.

With earnings season underway, Bank of America initially rose as it also topped fourth-quarter profit estimates and joined JPMorgan, Citigroup Inc and Wells Fargo & Co in releasing some cash reserves to cover for coronavirus-driven loan losses, underscoring its confidence in the economy. The stock pared gains however and down 0.7%.

Big U.S. bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s fourth-quarter profit more than doubled, dwarfing estimates after another blowout performance at its trading and underwriting business, but its shares also gave up early gains to end 2.3% lower.

Wall Street’s main indexes rallied to record highs recently on hopes of a speedy economic recovery fueled by a hefty fiscal stimulus package and vaccine distribution.

Eight of 11 S&P sectors advanced, with economy-linked energy, leading the way higher.

The defensive utilities, consumer staples and real estate were the only ones in the red.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 116.26 points, or 0.38%, to 30,930.52, the S&P 500 gained 30.66 points, or 0.81%, to 3,798.91 and the Nasdaq Composite added 198.68 points, or 1.53%, to 13,197.18.

(Production: Fred Katayama, Hyeongmi Kim, Roselle Chen)

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