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Wall Street set to open near record high as Joe Biden takes office

Wall Street's main indexes were set to open near record highs on Wednesday, as Joe Biden prepared to take charge as US President. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, file)

Wall Street's main indexes were set to open near record highs on Wednesday, as Joe Biden prepared to take charge as US President. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, file)

Published Jan 20, 2021

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By Devik Jain and Medha Singh

INTERNATIONAL - Wall Street's main indexes were set to open near record highs on Wednesday, as Joe Biden prepared to take charge as US President, while Netflix jumped after saying it will no longer need to borrow billions of dollars to finance its TV shows and movies.

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Shares of the world's largest streaming service surged 13 percent in premarket trading, helping boost futures tracking the broader tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index.

US stocks ended higher on Tuesday after Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen urged lawmakers to "act big" to save the coronavirus-ravaged economy and worry about debt later.

Biden, due to take over as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, will waste little time turning the page on the Trump era, advisers said,signing a raft of 15 executive actions on issues ranging from the Covid-19 pandemic to the economy to climate change.

Bets on a bigger pandemic relief plan and higher infrastructure spending under the Biden administration, and a Democrat-controlled US Congress have been pivotal in driving major US stock indexes to all-time peaks this month.

"It's all about the inauguration, focusing first on Biden being placed into the office and then it's going to be about earnings," said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in Fairfield, Connecticut.

"Earnings so far from the banks have come in pretty much better than expected and the markets reacted somewhat positively to that."

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Wrapping up quarterly reports from major US lenders, Morgan Stanley climbed about 2 percent after it posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on strength of its trading business and confirmed a $10-billion share buyback plan.

S&P 500 company earnings are expected to rise by 24 percent in 2021 after falling 15 percent in 2020, according to Refinitiv data. With stock market valuations sitting close to a 20-year high,investors are hoping corporate results and profit outlooks will help them determine to what degree the valuations are justified.

At 08:13 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were up 58 points, or 0.19 percent and S&P 500 E-minis were up 16.25 points, or 0.43 percent. Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 120 points, or 0.92 percent.

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United Health Group Inc slid 0.5 percent after the health insurer's quarterly profit slumped nearly 38 percent, weighed by costs related to its programs to make Covid-19 testing and treatment more accessible for its customers.

Procter & Gamble Co gained 1.4 percent after the consumer products giant raised its full-year sales forecast for a second time as it benefited from high demand for its cleaning products and the government's stimulus program.

Boeing Co added 0.9 percent after Berenberg upgraded the stock to "hold" from "sell", saying the worst has passed and restarting of 737 MAX aircraft deliveries in December marked a turning point towards planemaker's financial recovery.

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REUTERS

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