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Markets show promise as Biden asked Congress for a $400 annual increase in maximum Pell grants for college students

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Dow Jones futures will open for trading on Sunday evening, along with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures.

The stock market rally continued to strengthen, with the S&P 500 index and Dow Jones hitting record highs while the Nasdaq delivered a second straight strong weekly gain.

After weeks of wondering if a split market rally would survive, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 are at risk of becoming extended, raising the odds of a pullback.

Floor & Decor (FND), Square (SQ), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Mosaic (MOS), and Apple (AAPL) supplier Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) are stocks in the positive zone that offer some portfolio diversity amid a still-tricky market rally.

Mega cap techs were big winners, with Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), and Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) breaking out while Apple stock and Amazon.com (AMZN) jumped as they try to shake off months of sluggish action.

All five stocks are S&P 500 and Nasdaq members, with Apple stock and Microsoft also Dow components. So, when these giants get going, the major indexes do too.

Next week will be keenly observed as it will kick off the Q1 earnings reporting season, with Corporate America expected to reap the rewards of an economic recovery that’s seen gaining momentum.

President Joe Biden is seeking an additional $3 billion in Department of Education funding for federal Pell grants, which are for families who demonstrate exceptional financial need.

The budget proposal would offer students an extra $400 a year in grant funds. It would be the biggest annual increase since 2009, according to the administration.

The request would also make Pell grants available to undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.

Students can currently get a maximum $6,495 grant for the 2021-22 award year, which starts July 1, according to the Department of Education.

Amounts vary based on criteria like school cost, full- or part-time status, and information reported on one’s FAFSA federal student aid form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

Overall, the request includes $102.8 billion for the Education Department, a roughly 41% increase over the amount enacted in 2021.

Meanwhile, news has poured in that China’s antitrust regulator has imposed a fine equivalent to $2.8 billion against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. for abusing its dominant position over rivals and merchants on its e-commerce platforms, a record penalty in the country that comes amid a wave of scrutiny on the business empire of Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation said on Saturday in Beijing that Alibaba punished certain merchants who sold goods both on Alibaba and on rival platforms, a practice that it dubbed “er xuan yi”—literally, “choose one out of two.”

As part of the penalty, regulators will require that Alibaba carry out a comprehensive revamp of its operations and submit a “self-examination compliance report” within the next three years, they said.

The 18.2-billion-yuan fine is equivalent to 4% of the company’s domestic annual sales, the regulator added.

 

 

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