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Stocks Rise After Biden Taps Powell for a New Fed Term

(Associated Press) Stocks mostly rose in afternoon trading on Wall Street Monday as investors head into a holiday-shortened week with reassurance about leadership at the Federal Reserve.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4% as of 1:07 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 208 points, or 0.6%, to 35,810 and the Nasdaq fell 0.6%.

Bond yields moved solidly higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.61% from 1.54% late Friday. Banks, which rely on higher yields to charge more lucrative interest on loans, led gains for the broader market. Bank of America rose 3.2%.

Companies that make household and personal care products also made solid gains. Procter & Gamble rose 1% and Kroger rose 4.4%.

The dollar also strengthened against other currencies. The price of gold, a haven for when investors feel anxious, fell 2.3%.

Technology and communication companies fell. Chipmaker Nvidia fell 1.1% and Google’s parent, Alphabet, shed 1.2%.

Retailers and other companies that rely on consumer spending also gave up early gains and lagged the market. Target fell 2.2% and Amazon fell 2.5%. Those retailers are on the cusp of the busy holiday shopping season, which traditionally kicks off right after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Markets were reassured after President Joe Biden said he would nominate Jerome Powell for a second four-year term at the helm of the Federal Reserve, a vote of confidence in Powell’s handling of central bank policies during the brutal disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Powell getting the nod is a sign that Biden is staying the course on monetary policy and the Fed is steadily moving toward normalizing policy,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. “On the whole, the Fed is going to continue to be a force for monetary stability.”

The central bank is starting to trim bond purchases that have helped maintain low interest rates in an effort to support the economy and markets. The move to ease up on that support comes as rising inflation hangs over the economic recovery. Investors are closely watching the Fed to see whether pressure from rising inflation prompts it to speed up its plans for trimming bond purchases and raising its benchmark interest rate.

Markets in Europe and Asia were mixed as a resurgence of coronavirus outbreaks prompted some countries to look to stricter precautions to curb yet another wave of the pandemic.

Investors face a relatively light week of economic updates. The National Association of Realtors reported surprisingly good sales for previously occupied homes in October on Monday. The Commerce Department will report October data for new home sales on Wednesday, along with data on third-quarter gross domestic product.

Markets in the U.S. will be closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday. They will also close early on Friday.

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