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Wall St Set to Gain on Stimulus Bets; Jobless Claims Rise

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Dec 17 Reuters Wall Streets main indexes were set to gain on Thursday on increased optimism over a coronavirus stimulus bill, while an unexpected rise in weekly jobless claims pointed to further economic stress from the COVID19 pandemic.

Negotiations were underway in Congress late on Wednesday over the details of a 900 billion aid bill, with top Democrats and Republicans sounding more positive than they have in months on a fresh response to a crisis that has killed more than 304,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work.

The number of Americans filing firsttime claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly increased last week as a relentless surge in new coronavirus infections hobbled business operations and hurt hiring trends.

U.S. SP 500 Eminis were up 17 points, or 0.46, at 0836 a.m. ET, Dow Eminis were up 102 points, or 0.34, while Nasdaq 100 Eminis were up 60.25 points, or 0.48.

The Federal Reserve kept interest rates at nearzero levels on Wednesday and vowed to keep funneling cash into financial markets over the long term. Equity markets have been among the main beneficiaries of accommodative policy through the virus outbreak.

We have been waiting on this stimulus for months now, but we also have the Federal Reserve buying almost a trillion and a half dollars worth of assets a year, said Mike ORourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading.

They have promised to keep interest rates at zero for the next three years and that is also where the optimism comes…

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