Global Markets Firmer Ahead of Biden’s Inauguration

London, Jan 20 (AFP/APP): World stock markets rose Wednesday as investors awaited the inauguration of Joe Biden and took heart from comments by his Treasury nominee Janet Yellen on pushing through the new president’s coronavirus stimulus package.

Wall Street stocks pushed higher at the opening bell, with the Dow gaining 0.3 percent. In early afternoon deals in Europe, Frankfurt rose 0.8 percent and Paris 0.5 percent while London added just 0.2 percent as the pound hit a new 2.5-year peak against the dollar. Asia enjoyed a broadly positive session, after bumper gains on Wall Street following a long weekend break. The euro meanwhile sagged against the dollar as dealers eyed Italy’s political turmoil on the eve of an interest rate decision from the European Central Bank.

Later on Wednesday, Biden will be sworn in as the 46th US president, drawing a curtain on the most tumultuous administration of modern times and charting a new course to tackle Covid-19 and unite a splintered nation. Outgoing President Donald Trump, whose efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and console its victims have been widely criticised, will snub the ceremony.

Trump, Brexit in rear view mirror

“The pomp and ceremony of inauguration day has come with a similarly chipper outlook,” said IG analyst Joshua Mahony. “European markets… (are) looking forward with optimism, with Joe Biden’s inauguration marking the end of a four-year period that married up both Brexit and global trade uncertainty.

“With Trump and Brexit negotiations in the rear-view mirror, markets are faced with a four-year stint of greater stability and less uncertainty.”

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