US stocks gain on inauguration eve, Yellen call for stimulus

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Stocks rallied across the board on Tuesday after Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen threw her weight behind another 'big' economic stimulus package.

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks won solid gains on Tuesday ((Jan 19) as markets anticipated the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden while Biden's Treasury secretary nominee reiterated a call for aggressive stimulus spending.

Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chairman nominated to lead economic policy, during her Senate confirmation hearing called for Washington to "act big" to support the coronavirus-ravaged US economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 per cent to finish at 30,930.52.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.8 per cent to end at 3,798.91, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.5 per cent to 13,197.18.

Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi, said the uptick reflects "the market giving the Biden policy agenda an early stamp of approval" a day before his administration takes office.

Among individual companies, General Motors shot up 9.8 percent after announcing an alliance with Microsoft on its Cruise autonomous driving venture. Microsoft gained 1.8 per cent.

Boeing won 3.1 per cent as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency said it would clear the company's 737 Max plane to resume flights next week, 22 months after the jet was grounded following two fatal crashes.

Following the completion of the merger of French automaker PSA with Italian giant Fiat Chrysler, shares in the new company, Stellantis, surged 10.8 per cent in their debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

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