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The major futures indexes suggest a gain of 0.3% when Friday's Wall Street session gets underway.
With Democrats poised to take control of Washington, investors are anticipating the Biden administration and Congress will try to deliver $2,000 checks to most Americans, increase spending on infrastructure and take other measures to nurse the economy amid the worsening pandemic.
The first big economic event of the new year comes Friday morning with the December employment report. The Labor Department is expected to say the U.S. economy added a meager 71,000 new nonfarm jobs last month, the sixth straight month of decreasing gains and down from 245,000 in November, which was far below the 469,000 estimate.
It would also be the smallest gain since the jobs recovery began in May. The unemployment rate is expected to edge higher to 6.8% from 6.7% in November, the lowest since March.
In Europe, London's FTSE slipped 0.1%, Germany's DAX gained 0.7% and France's CAC rose 0.5%.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 2.4% to close at 28,139.03, its highest finish in more than 30 years.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.2%, while China's Shanghai Composite slipped 0.2%.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 1.5% to a record 3,803.79. Investors were reassured by Congress’ confirmation of Joe Biden’s presidential election win and a shift in control of the Senate to the Democrats and largely moved on from the previous day’s violence and chaos at the Capitol building.
President Trump has issued a statement saying there will be an “orderly transition on January 20th,” although he continues to claim falsely that he won. Democratic victories in the two runoffs held Tuesday for Georgia's U.S. Senate seats tipped the Senate to a 50-50 split, (counting two independents who caucus with Democrats), with potential ties being broken by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The rally was broad-based, though the S&P 500′s technology sector notched the biggest gain, recouping losses after a pullback a day earlier. The Dow gained 0.7% to 31,041.13. The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 2.6% to 13,067.48.
Wall Street’s latest rally adds to gains from a day before, when stocks rose on Democrats' victories in the Senate runoffs. Investors are largely looking past the current political ugliness — and the coronavirus pandemic’s acceleration around the world — and are focusing instead on prospects for an improving economy.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added 70 cents to $51.54 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 20 cents on Thursday to $50.83 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 86 cents to $55.23 a barrel.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.