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Stocks Finish at Records on Stimulus Bets

Stocks close at record levels after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen endorses a massive stimulus package.

Stocks closed at records Monday after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen endorsed a massive stimulus package that she said should include checks to Americans making up to around $60,000.

Yellen said full employment could return by 2022 if President Joe Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion plan was passed. Asked about fears of inflation rising, Yellen said "we have the tools to deal with" such a threat.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 237 points, or 0.76%, to close at 31,385, the S&P 500 finished up 0.74% to close at 3,915 and the Nasdaq rose 0.95% to end at 13,987.

The three major benchmark indexes also set intraday record highs.

The S&P 500 closed Friday at a record. The broad-market index jumped 4.2% last week and has risen for six straight sessions, its longest rally since August.

The size of Biden's plan has been criticized by Republican lawmakers and questioned by previous Democratic Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

Biden said on Friday he'd have none of that.

“Some in Congress think we’ve already done enough to deal with the crisis in the country. Others think that things are getting better and we can afford to sit back and either do little or nothing at all,” he told reporters. “That’s not what I see. I see enormous pain.”

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Biden's comments came after the U.S. added only 49,000 jobs to payrolls in January, a weaker-than-expected report that showed how private-sector employment continued to lag forecasts amid pandemic-linked shutdowns for businesses and factories. 

Rising expectations for inflation led to a selloff Monday in Treasuries, pushing the yield on the 30-year bond to 2%, the highest since February 2020.

Brent oil rose above $60 a barrel for this first time in more than a year, with prices recovering to pre-pandemic levels amid renewed optimism about a global economic recovery. Brent settled at $60.56.

West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, rose 2% on Monday to settle at $57.97.

Bitcoin's price rose to a record of $44,795 during Monday's session and Tesla  (TSLA)  shares closed up 1.3% after the electric-vehicle company said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it had purchased $1.5 billion of the digital asset and expects to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for its products in the "near future."

Earnings season continues this week, with reports from the likes of Walt Disney  (DIS) , General Motors  (GM) , Cisco Systems  (CSCO) , Twitter  (TWTR) , Coca-Cola  (KO)  and PepsiCo  (PEP) .

"Led by a number of sectors that have been viewed as pandemic beneficiaries, more than 80% of companies that have reported results so far have beaten expectations," said Jason Pride, Glenmede's chief investment officer of private wealth, and Michael Reynolds, investment strategy officer at Glenmede. "The outlook for corporate profitability continues to improve, gathering momentum for a strong recovery in 2021."

Top Earnings to Watch This Week: Take-Two, Disney and Twitter

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