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05 Feb 2021 | 15:37

US open: Stocks advance as Senate approves $1.9trn stimulus package

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks were in the green on Friday, with major indices attempting to close out their best week since November on a high. As of 1535 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.35% at 31,165.35, while the S&P 500 was 0.30% stronger at 3,883.40 and the Nasdaq Composite started out the session 0.03% firmer at 13,782.33.

The Dow opened 109.49 points higher on Friday, extending gains recorded in the previous session as corporate earnings continued to roll in and a better-than-expected jobless claims report boosted sentiment.

With things a bit quieter on the earnings front, Friday's primary focuses were January's nonfarm jobs report and stimulus headlines coming out of Washington.

Firstly, data revealed the US labour market recovery had disappointed for a second consecutive month in January, showing only modest job growth in the first few weeks of the new year.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.4%, or 49,000, month-on-month, following a downwardly revised 227,000 print for December, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Moving on to stimulus talks, America's Senate narrowly approved the Biden administration's $1.9trn coronavirus aid package. The government's new fiscal support measures were approved along partisan lines, with votes from Democrats and Republicans split right down the middle 50-50 and US vice president, Kamala Harris, casting the tie-breaking vote.

Progress in vaccination rollouts also helped lighten the mood on the Street, with market participants hopeful that the US can turn the tide on the Covid-19 pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 467,000 Americans.

Elsewhere on the macro front, the US trade deficit narrowed 3.5% to $66.6bn in December, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, following am 8.2% surge in November to a record high of $69.0bn.

Still to come, December consumer credit change figures will follow at 2000 GMT.

In the corporate space, Estee Lauder posted a second-quarter net sales growth of 5% and a 21% jump in adjusted diluted earnings per share, while Black & Decker parent company Spectrum Brands topped first-quarter earnings per share estimates by $0.76 and stated it now expects high single-digit reported net sales growth for the full year.
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