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Wall Street Remains in Wait-and-See Mode

Dow is flat as investors look to Congress for stimulus
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 19, 2021 3:09 PM CST

(Newser) – Stocks didn't move much Friday as investors remained focused on the future of the COVID-stricken economy and the potential for more stimulus to fix it. The Dow rose less than a single point to 31,494, the S&P 500 dipped 7 points to 3,906, and the Nasdaq gained 9 points to finish the week at 13,874. Wall Street continues to look to Washington for direction, as Democrats move forward with their $1.9 trillion stimulus plan to combat the coronavirus, per the AP. Incremental moves were made this week, with the Biden administration signaling it would drop its call for a $15-an-hour minimum wage in this stimulus plan in order to get support from moderate Democratic senators.

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Much of the recent economic data has shown the US economy could benefit from additional stimulus. Wall Street got a weekly jobless claims report Thursday that showed 861,000 Americans filed for unemployment last week, a rise from the previous week and higher than Wall Street had forecast. The Federal Reserve, in the minutes from its January meeting, also laid out the case for why additional stimulus would be necessary and not cause the economy to overheat. Of particular note is investors' concerns about inflation. The yield of the 10-year note has risen 0.17 percentage points this week alone, a significant rise in such a short period of time. Rising bond yields can indicate that investors are hopeful for more economic growth in the future, but it can also signal potential inflation coming down the road.

(Read more stock market stories.)

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