US stocks open higher as Fed Chair Powell renominated

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Wall Street stocks opened higher Monday as President Joe Biden renominated Jerome Powell as head of the US Federal Reserve, in a move of continuity during the coronavirus pandemic.

About 30 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 35,909.32, up 0.9 percent.

The broad-based S&P 500 also gained 0.9 percent to 4,741.53, along with the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index, which was at 16,197.47.

Appointed by Biden’s Republican predecessor Donald Trump and taking office in 2018, Powell has led the central bank’s response to the massive pandemic downturn, which saw it slash its lending rate to zero and roll out trillions of dollars in liquidity.

Biden praised Powell for providing “steady leadership during an unprecedently challenging period, including the biggest downturn in modern history.”

While Powell’s renomination had been seen as more likely than not, the announcement removes an uncertainty that had hung over markets in recent sessions.

“This is something the market not only anticipated but probably hoped for,” said Art Hogan of National Securities.

This week’s holiday-shortened calendar will see markets closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving, followed by a half-session Friday, which is known as “Black Friday,” the kickoff of the holiday shopping season.

Analysts are also monitoring headlines in Europe, where Germany and Austria have announced new restrictions to address Covid-19.

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