/US stocks gain as stimulus optimism offsets the biggest jobless-claims surge since March

US stocks gain as stimulus optimism offsets the biggest jobless-claims surge since March


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  • US stocks gained on Thursday as optimism about President-elect Joe Biden’s stimulus plan offset a surge in weekly jobless claims.
  • The jobless-claims reading of 965,000 represented the biggest increase since March and the highest level since August.
  • Democrats are weighing a multitrillion-dollar stimulus bill that would combine infrastructure spending and COVID-19 relief legislation.
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US stocks gained on Thursday as hopes for a massive stimulus bill from the Biden administration offset a surge in weekly jobless claims.

Jobless claims surged to 965,000 for the week that ended on Saturday, representing the biggest surge since March and the highest level since August. Economists had expected 800,000 jobless claims for the week.

But traders appear more focused on a multitrillion-dollar stimulus bill floated by President-elect Joe Biden.

Here’s where US indexes stood after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Thursday:

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Two Democratic aides familiar with the discussions told Insider that Senate Democrats were weighing whether to combine infrastructure spending and coronavirus relief legislation into one bill that wouldn’t require Republican votes to pass. The discussions reflect Democrats’ desire to swiftly capitalize on their majorities in the House and the Senate following the runoff elections in Georgia.

Bitcoin rebounded on Thursday and reclaimed the $39,000 level following a sell-off of more than 20% from its record high above $40,000. On Wednesday, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde called for Bitcoin to be regulated globally.

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Virgin Galactic jumped 16% after Ark Invest disclosed plans to launch an exchange-traded fund focused on the space-exploration industry.

Plug Power fell 5% after JPMorgan initiated coverage of the hydrogen-fuel-cell manufacturer at “neutral” and set a $60 price target, representing downside potential of 14% from Wednesday’s close.

Oil prices fell. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped as much as 1.3%, to $52.24 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell 1.5%, to $55.24 per barrel, at intraday lows.

Gold rose as much as 0.4%, to $1,852.24 per ounce.

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