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US stocks on the up as Yellen speaks; Joe Biden prepares for inauguration

12.40pm: US stocks head north at lunch US benchmarks were higher at mid-session as markets look to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration tomorrow and as former Fed chair Janet Yellen’s comments are in focus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added over 121 points at 30,925, while the broader based S&P 500 gained around 23 points at 3,791. The Nasdaq index advanced over 137 points to stand at 13,135.   Yellen is Biden’s nominee to replace US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and is speaking at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee. She is expected to say more stimulus measures are needed to avoid a protracted economic recession in the US due to the pandemic. David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Last week, President-elect Joe Biden, announced plans for a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, and it is understood that Ms Yellen will tell politicians that a robust fiscal response is needed to ensure the US’s economic recovery continues. “Lately, there have been growing signs the rebound is running out of steam, most notably the negative US non-farm payrolls report for December, so a large financial injection should improve the health of the country.” 10.20am: Proactive North America headlines: Pacton Gold Inc (CVE:PAC) (OTCPINK:PACXF) (FRA:2NKM) reports high-grade, widespread mineralization from first phase drilling at Sidace project, Red Lake GlobeX Data Ltd (OTCQB:SWISF) (CSE:SWIS) says it is preparing to launch additional features to its Sekur email and messaging security solution FansUnite Entertainment Inc (CSE:FANS) (OTCQB:FUNFF) (FRA:4UY) partners with OneComply for US licensing strategy assistance NetCents Technology Inc (CSE:NC) (FRA:26N) (OTCQB:NTTCF) receives Bank Identification Number from Visa for its crypto-backed Visa Card in preparation for launch Heritage Cannabis Holdings Corp (CSE:CANN) (OTCQX:HERTF) (FRA:2UE) says subsidiary CannaCure in deal for distribution of CBD and THC pharmaceutical products in Brazil Neo Lithium Corp (CVE:NLC) (OTCQX:NTTHF) (FRA:NE2) produces improved battery-grade lithium carbonate from its pilot plant Karora Resources Inc (TSE:KRR) (OTCMKTS:KRRGF) (FRA:5RN1) beats production guidance for 2020 after record gold output Atlas Engineered Products Ltd (CVE:AEP) (OTCMKTS:APEUF) in acquisition of assets from ZyTech Building Systems’ former Langley location CO2 GRO Inc (CVE:GROW) (OTCQB:BLONF) (FRA:4021) reveals it has sold a fourth CO2 Delivery Solutions Commercial Installation to a Canadian licensed cultivator Loop Insights Inc (CVE:MTRX) (OTCQB:RACMF) finalizes integration of major cryptocurrencies into its contactless payments platform 9.41am: Wall Street starts in green The main Wall Street indices moved higher in early deals on Tuesday as investors drew optimism from expectations of fiscal stimulus from the incoming Biden administration. Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.79% at 31,058, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.77% to 3,797 and the Nasdaq rose 1.02% to 13,131. Incoming Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is expected to outline the new administration’s plans for sustained spending in the coming months to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Traders may also have been lifted by earnings from banking giant Goldman Sachs which smashed forecasts with net income more than doubling in its fourth quarter. 7:50am: Wall Street to start mostly higher Wall Street, which was closed yesterday to honour Martin Luther King Day, is set to open mostly on the front foot, with bullish investors pinning their hopes on president-elect Joe Biden’s pandemic stimulus bill providing a spark for the US economy, details of which will be looked for when incoming Treasury Secretary and former Fed chair Janet Yellen appears before the US Senate for her confirmation hearing later today. Statistics show that the US stock market tends to fare better under a Democratic Party government and investors may be getting in early on the last day of President Trump’s last full day in office, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average expected to burst through the 31,000 barrier – just – with a rise of 188 points. The S&P500 is tipped to open 28 points firmer at 3,796 but the Nasdaq Composite is expected to slide 71 points to 12,927. “The US will see more stimulus in Biden’s first 100 days, but the question is will some Republicans in the Senate play ball with the Democrats? It is very unclear how life after President Trump will be, but some Republicans up for re-election in 2022 could take Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan as an opportunity to distance themselves from the Trump administration,” speculated Edward Moya at OANDA. “The headline figure will likely come down a bit but if Republicans show a willingness to coordinate with Democrats, risk appetite has not priced that in. Biden’s Cabinet appointees grilling in the Senate and the Trump impeachment proceedings will garner much attention, but many political insiders will look to see if some Republicans don’t immediately reject everything the Democrats bring to the table,” he added. The spending plans will also take centre stage when Yellen is questioned by the Senate Finance Committee. “She’s a labour economist by training and placed a lot of emphasis on the ‘full employment’ aspect of the Fed’s dual mandate when she was at the Fed. She’s likely to emphasise the need to get employment back to where it was before the pandemic rather than worrying about inflation, a stance that would agree totally with the current thinking on the FOMC [Federal Open Market Committee],” said Marshall Gittler at BDSwiss. Five things to watch for on Tuesday: Earnings season is getting into full swing with a number of famous names on the calendar including banking giant Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) Also in the diary is streaming giant Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) with its fourth quarter numbers, with subscriber growth and forward guidance likely to hold most attention Other big names reporting today include financial services group Charles Schwab Corp (NYSE:SCHW) and oil and gas firm Halliburton Co (NYSE:HAL), both of which will deliver fourth quarter numbers Meanwhile, shares in Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) will be eyed after the financier report earnings ahead of expectations despite a revenue miss in its fourth quarter Wire transfer firm Western Union Co (NYSE:WU) will also be eyed after the group sealed a deal with Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) to introduce its money transfer services into the retail giant’s stores

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