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David Becker

US stocks moved higher on Friday, and yields continued to surge despite a weaker than expected U.S. jobs report. Most sectors in the S&P 500 index were mixed, led by gains in Real-estate, the Energy sector bucked the trend. Energy shares declined despite a nearly 3% rally in crude oil prices. For the week crude oil increased by nearly 8%. The House is poised to impeach President Trump following his push for insurance on the capital on Wednesday.

Markets will remain focused on the prospect of more fiscal stimulus as the January 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden gets closer. President Trump said he would not attend President-elect Biden’s inauguration, but while Vice President Pense was invited. The dollar continued to move higher, while gold moved lower and Bitcoin continues to rise.

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Jobs Data Disappointed

The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls fell by 140,000. That was below expectations for 50,000 increase. It was the first monthly drop since April. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7%, compared to a 6.8% estimate. An alternative unemployment measure that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons declined to 11.7% from 12%. The biggest hit has come in the hospitality industry, where hotels, restaurants and bars suffered under the yoke of restrictions that limited travel, dining, and drinking. December’s job tally showed the impact has intensified. The hospitality industry saw a plunge of 498,000 positions for the month, with most coming in restaurants and bars.

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Canceling Student Loans

President-elect Joe Biden will ask Congress to immediately cancel $10,000 in student debt for all borrowers and extend the payment pause scheduled to lapse this month. The $900 billion pandemic aid package passed in December didn’t include an extension of the payment pause for student loan borrowers.

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