Stimulus Optimism Contributing To Continued Strength On Wall Street

After edging mostly higher over the two previous sessions, stocks are seeing some further upside in morning trading on Thursday. With the upward move on the day, the Dow and the Nasdaq have risen to a new record intraday highs.

Currently, the major averages are hovering in positive territory. The Dow is up 131.84 points or 0.4 percent at 31,192.31, the Nasdaq is up 80.77 points or 0.6 percent at 13,209.72 and the S&P 500 is up 12.38 points or 0.3 percent at 3,822.22.

Optimism about additional fiscal stimulus has helped generate early buying interest, as President-elect Joe Biden is expected to unveil a major relief package later today.

A report from CNN citing two people briefed on the deliberations said the price tag for the package is expected to be in the ballpark of $2 trillion.

The package is expected to include an increase in direct payments to Americans as well as an extension of increased unemployment insurance and support for state and local governments.

The strength on Wall Street also comes following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing initial jobless claims jumped to their highest level in over four months in the week ended January 9th.

The report said initial jobless claims rose to 965,000, an increase of 181,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 784,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 795,000 from the 787,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the bigger than expected increase, jobless claims reached their highest level since hitting 1.011 million in the week ended August 22nd.

Traders have recently viewed disappointing jobs data as a positive for the markets, as it could put further pressure on lawmakers to approve additional stimulus.

Airline stocks have moved sharply higher in morning trading, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index soaring by 5.3 percent to its best intraday level in a month.

Delta Air Lines (DAL) is posting a strong gain after the airline reported a wider than expected fourth quarter loss but CEO Ed Bastian said he is optimistic 2021 will be a “year of recovery.”

Significant strength has also emerged among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 2.3 percent jump by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. The index has reached a new record intraday high.

Energy, networking and transportation stocks are also seeing considerable strength, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose by 0.4 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has risen by 0.7 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.5 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest weakness following the rebound seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.4 basis points at 1.102 percent.

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