US Stocks Open Higher in Holiday-Shortened Session

New York, Dec 24 (AFP/APP): Wall Street stocks were higher early Thursday and appeared unfazed at the start of a holiday-shorted session by the risk a hard-won pandemic relief deal in Congress could fall apart. Republicans Thursday blocked an effort to amend the package after outgoing President Donald Trump’s 11th-hour demand to increase stimulus payments to $2,000 from $600.

“These are cantankerous political matters, yet the market isn’t overly bothered by them because, in its mind, it’s a matter of when, not if, a stimulus deal will be passed,” said analyst Patrick O’Hare. About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1 percent at 30,161.36. The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.2 percent at 3,697.00, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.4 percent to 12,824.88.

Among individual companies, US-traded shares of Alibaba plunged 11.4 percent after China launched an anti-monopoly investigation into the e-commerce giant. Square added 0.7 percent following a Bloomberg report it has held talks to buy Jay-Z’s Tidal music streaming service.

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