Equities extend gains as stimulus bets roll in

Investors are now waiting to hear what Democrats plan to do with their new control of Congress amid expectations for another huge stimulus package

Global stock markets mostly rose Friday at the end of a strong week for equities, with Frankfurt and Wall Street continuing a record-breaking run as investors set their sights on a huge US stimulus package.

The dollar traded mixed as data showed the US economy shed 140,000 jobs in December -- the first drop since April -- in a sign the recovery from the pandemic's damage has stalled.

"Today's nonfarm payrolls shouldn't make too much difference to sentiment as investors are only really focused on the path forward with vaccines and stimulus," noted Neil Wilson, chief analyst at Markets.com.

All three major US indices finished at all-time highs, with the Nasdaq up the most at one percent.

US stocks have rallied this week in spite of chaos in Washington after supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the nation's Capitol building in an unsuccessful effort to block Joe Biden's election victory from being confirmed.

Fallout from those events continued to preoccupy lawmakers in Congress as Democrats vow to impeach Trump, but markets have been looking ahead to Biden's inauguration and expectations for more fiscal support.

Oil prices reached 10-month highs, continuing to benefit from news earlier in the week that Saudi Arabia plans to trim its crude output.

The prospect of another massive fiscal infusion for the US economy helped divert attention from soaring Covid-19 infection and death rates that have forced governments to once again lock down as they try to quickly roll out vaccinations.

"We need more direct relief flowing to families, small businesses, including finishing the job of getting people the $2,000 in relief direct payment," Biden said Friday.

In Europe, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index had opened at a record-high above 14,100 points, with traders putting their faith in vaccine rollouts to get economies up and running once more.

It trimmed its gains, but still ended the day with another record close.

- Key figures around 2210 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 31,097.97 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.6 percent at 3,824.68 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 1.0 percent at 13,201.98 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 6,873.26 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.6 percent at 14,049.53 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 5,706.88 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.6 percent at 3,645.05 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 2.4 percent at 28,139.03 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.2 percent at 27,878.22 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,570.11 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2219 from $1.2272 at 2200 GMT

Dollar/yen: UP at 103.95 yen from 103.81 yen

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3560 from $1.3568

Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.09 pence from 90.45 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.8 percent at $52.24 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 3.0 percent at $55.99 per barrel

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