by AFP / Pic by BLOOMBERG
NEW YORK – Wall Street hit new records and stock markets across the globe climbed after US President Joe Biden took office on Wednesday, with traders joyful over his plan to inject even more stimulus into the world’s largest economy.
The Dow and S&P 500 posted all-time highs, but none gained more than the Nasdaq, which climbed 2.0 percent to a new record thanks in part to Netflix, which saw its share price surge after an excellent quarterly earnings report.
Investors were relieved the new president took office safely after outgoing president Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the US Capitol earlier this month, and are now closely watching what Congress does with Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic recovery plan.
“In general, this is a market that’s growing optimistic that increased fiscal spending will boost the economy and lead to earnings growth,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities.
In Europe, Frankfurt ended with a gain of almost 0.8 percent and Paris was 0.5 percent higher, while London added 0.4 percent as the pound hit a new 2.5-year peak against the dollar.
“European markets… (are) looking forward with optimism, with Joe Biden’s inauguration marking the end of a four-year period that married up both Brexit and global trade uncertainty,” commented IG analyst Joshua Mahony.
And Asia enjoyed a broadly positive session as well.
The dollar was mixed, selling off against most currencies except the euro, whose dealers are mulling political turmoil in Italy on the eve of an interest rate decision from the European Central Bank.
A break from Covid
Trump’s departure caps his chaotic four-year term that saw US stocks generally prosper before the coronavirus hit last March, causing a historic plunge for indices, though much of that ground has been regained in the months since.
Investors worldwide appear to have set aside concerns over the pandemic for now, though it continues to cast a shadow as governments in some countries keep lockdowns in place.
US investors also are hopeful about Biden’s promised massive spending package to boost the recovery, but as Democrats only narrowly control Congress, the final package might be less than the $1.9 trillion proposed.
“The incoming administration is looking to hit the ground running and has some very ambitious plans to combat the pandemic and the economic damage it has inflicted,” remarked Craig Erlam, a market analyst at Oanda.
Shortly after he reached the White House, Biden signed a flurry of executive orders, among them actions to get control of the pandemic including a mask mandate, and to help buoy the economy, including extending a mortgage foreclosure moratorium and a pause on student debt repayments.
Biden pledged to “rebuild the economy” and “rebuild the backbone of the country: the middle class.”
Key figures around 2150 GMT
New York – Dow: UP 0.8 percent at 31,188.38 points (close)
New York – S&P 500: UP 1.4 percent at 3,851.85 points (close)
New York – Nasdaq: UP 2.0 percent at 13,457.25 points (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.8 percent at 3,624.04 (close)
London – FTSE 100: 0.4 percent at 6,740.39 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.8 percent at 13,921.37 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.5 percent at 5,628.44 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 percent at 28,523.26 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.0 percent at 29,962.47 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 3,583.09 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2104 from $1.2129 at 2200 GMT on Tuesday
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 103.53 yen from 103.90 yen
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3657 from $1.3630
Euro/pound: DOWN at 88.64 pence from 88.99 pence
West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.6 percent at $53.28 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.1 percent at $55.82 per barrel