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US: Dow rises after Georgia vote, infrastructure stocks up

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks were mixed early Wednesday with infrastructure stocks gaining on the Democratic edge in key Senate elections, while private hiring data sagged.

President-elect Joe Biden's party was the declared winner in one of the races and narrowly ahead in the other race, boosting speculation a public works spending package could be enacted.

About 35 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.9 per cent at 30,655.16.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.2 per cent to 3,735.90, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.8 per cent to 12,722.47.

Ahead of the Georgia vote, markets had been anxious over the possibility that a Democratic sweep would lead to major tax increases and other big changes.

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But markets appeared to take a fairly benign view of the results. Infrastructure stocks rallied, with Caterpillar up 5.0 per cent and United States Steel up 7.5 per cent.

Analysts noted that even if Democrats win both seats, Mr Biden's party will have only narrow margins in both houses of Congress.

A note from Goldman Sachs predicted a Democratic Senate would lead to about a US$600 billion fiscal package this year, "followed by a limited amount of tax increases and spending increases later in the year." US private employment fell 123,000 in December, according to private data that was far weaker than expected and sparked worries about Friday's more closely watched government jobs report.


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