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Stock markets upbeat as Biden’s administration readies to take control.



U.S. equity futures rose Wednesday, buoyed by earnings and hopes for more stimulus, while Asian stocks were mixed. The dollar extended its retreat as Biden is all set to be sworn as the 46th U.S. president.

Biden enters the White House with the top challenge to lift the country from the devastation of a raging pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans and thrown millions into economic distress. The revival of the economy, which has been badly bruised by the pandemic, is another challenge that he faces.

Wall Street’s main indexes had hit record highs last week on expectations for a hefty Covid-19 relief package, which Biden is due to unveil on Thursday.

Biden supporters might point to the incoming president’s bullish impact on the stock market since the Nov. 3 election as one early accomplishment, even if it’s hard to pin all of the recent gains on the change in regime from Donald Trump to Biden.

In the 11 weeks between the Nov. 3 election and Tuesday, the S&P 500 was up a dazzling 12.76%.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing for Biden’s nomination of Janet Yellen for the Treasury secretary, in one of the closely watched Cabinet confirmation hearings of the week.

In her remarks, Yellen advocated for major fiscal action to help support the virus-stricken economy, and told Congress to “act big” when it came to more aid. In a wide-ranging dialogue with lawmakers, Yellen also said she would support the Biden administration’s goals of tackling climate issues and addressing “unfair and illegal practices” out of China.

Chinese firms trading in Hong Kong saw the bulk of gains and the Hang Seng Seng Index approached the 30,000 level, but stocks were lower in Japan.

Investors weighed comments suggesting a tough line from Joe Biden’s incoming administration toward China. Nasdaq 100 futures outperformed, with Netflix Inc. surging in after-hours trading as it added more customers than expected.

Treasuries were steady, with the yield on 10-year notes trading around 1.1%. Crude oil advanced and gold edged higher.

Investors are showing signs of returning to the reflation trade, betting that the incoming U.S. administration will use its legislative firepower to propel economic growth.






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