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US Stocks Near Records Wednesday Morn  01/20 09:01

   U.S. stocks are rising again Wednesday, climbing toward records on 
stronger-than-expected earnings reports and continued optimism that new 
leadership in Washington will help usher in an economic recovery.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are rising again Wednesday, climbing toward 
records on stronger-than-expected earnings reports and continued optimism that 
new leadership in Washington will help usher in an economic recovery.

   The S&P 500 was 0.7% higher at 3,824.26 in early trading, brushing up 
against its record of 3,824.68 set earlier this month. The Dow Jones Industrial 
Average was up 93 points, or 0.3%, at 31,023, as of 9:45 a.m. Eastern time, and 
the Nasdaq composite was 1.3% higher.

   Joe Biden will take the oath of office to become U.S. president later in the 
day, and he has a flurry of executive actions at the ready. He has also pitched 
a plan to pump $1.9 billion more into the struggling economy, hoping to act 
quickly as his Democratic party takes control of the White House and both 
houses of Congress.

   The hope on Wall Street is that such stimulus will help carry the economy 
until later this year, when more widespread COVID-19 vaccinations get daily 
life closer to normal. Such hopes have helped stocks and Treasury yields rise, 
with gains accelerating after Biden's election, even as the worsening pandemic 
digs a deeper hole for the economy with more workers unemployed and shoppers 
less confident.

   A better-than-expected start to earnings reporting season is also helping to 
lift the market. Analysts came in with low expectations, forecasting the big 
companies in the S&P 500 will report a fourth straight drop in earnings per 
share because of the damage from the pandemic. But the vast majority of the 
earliest reports have managed to top forecasts.

   Morgan Stanley rose 1.8% after reporting much stronger earnings than Wall 
Street had forecast. A boom in corporate mergers and takeovers helped Morgan 
Stanley get more business from advising companies, and it booked more revenue 
from stronger trading activity.

   Netflix jumped 13.1% for one of the market's biggest gains after it said it 
ended last year with more than 200 million subscribers for the first time. It 
also said it made more in revenue during the last three months of 2020 than 
analysts expected, though its earnings fell short of forecasts. Business is 
good enough for the company that it says it likely doesn't need to borrow 
anymore to cover its day-to-day operations.

   The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.10% from 1.07% late Tuesday.

   In European stock markets, the German DAX returned 0.8%, and the French CAC 
40 rose 0.5%. The FTSE 100 added 0.2% in London.

   In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.4%. Main urban areas in Japan, 
including Tokyo, are under a state of emergency, with evening dining at 
restaurants discouraged. Critics say that's not enough, as deaths related to 
COVID-19 have been rising. A vaccine rollout has not begun in Japan.

   Other Asian markets were stronger. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.7%, Hong 
Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.1% and stocks in Shanghai rose 0.5%.

 
 
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