By Medha Singh

Oct 12 (Reuters)The tech-heavy Nasdaq led Wall Street’s main indexes higher on Monday as optimism about an agreement in Washington over more fiscal support lifted sentiment ahead of the start of quarterly corporate earnings.

Apple Inc AAPL.O provided the biggest boost to the three main stock indexes with a 3.7% gain ahead of a special event on Tuesday, which most analysts believe will be used to unveil the new iPhone with 5G capabilities.

The Trump administration on Sunday called on Congress to pass a stripped-down coronavirus relief bill as negotiations on a broader package ran into resistance.

“(President Donald) Trump is falling behind in opinion polls and seems desperate for a deal, so either some agreement will be hammered out soon or the Democrats could win a decisive victory at the ballot box and ultimately deliver an even greater stimulus package,” said Marios Hadjikyriacos, investment analyst at online broker XM in Cyprus.

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Americans were steadily losing confidence in Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with his net approval on the issue hitting a record low.

Growing expectations of a Democratic victory in next month’s presidential election as well as bets of fresh federal aid have sent Wall Street’s main indexes to one-month highs.

With the Oct. 15 presidential debate officially canceled, Trump plans to travel to key battleground states this week as his doctor declared he was no longer a transmission risk for the novel coronavirus.

Results from big U.S. banks will be in focus this week, with JPMorgan & Co JPM.N and Citigroup C.N set to report on Tuesday. Bank shares were flat to slightly higher in premarket trading.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N, which reports on Wednesday, is considering whether to scale back financial targets set

NEW DELHI, Oct 12 (Reuters)India’s finance minister on Monday announced steps to stimulate consumer demand including advance payment of a part of the wages of federal government employees for spending during the festival season, part of efforts to bolster the pandemic-hit economy.

The government will also allow its employees to spend travel allowances that are an income-tax-exempt part of their salaries on goods and services, Nirmala Sitharaman told a news briefing.

“This is expected to create a consumer demand of about 280 billion rupees ($3.83 billion),” she said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which imposed a tough lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus in March, is pushing ahead with a full opening to try to boost the economy ahead of the usually high-spending festival season.

($1 = 73.1541 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Aftab Ahmed and Manoj Kumar; Editing by Catherine Evans)

(([email protected]; +91 11 4954 8029; Reuters Messaging: [email protected]))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Source Article

By Aftab Ahmed and Manoj Kumar

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India on Monday announced steps to stimulate consumer demand, including advance payment of a part of the wages of federal government employees during the festival season and more capital spending as it tries to bolster the pandemic-hit economy.

The government will allow its employees to spend tax-exempt travel allowances on goods and services, Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s finance minister told a news briefing.

She said the government will also shore up investment by spending extra 250 billion rupees ($3.41 billion)on roads, ports and defence projects, and offering 120 billion rupees in interest-free 50-year loans to state governments for spending on infrastructure before March 31,2021.

“All these measures are likely to create an additional demand of 730 billion rupees ($9.96 billion),” Sitharaman said, adding the proposals would stimulate demand in a “fiscally prudent way.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which imposed a tough lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus in March, is pushing ahead with a full opening to try to boost the economy ahead of the usually high-spending festival season, which runs from October to March.

The latest package would not require any extra borrowing by the federal government, Tarun Bajaj, economic affairs secretary at the Ministry of Finance, told reporters.

India’s federal government said last month it would stick to revised borrowing target of 12 trillion rupees ($163.78 billion) in the current fiscal year ending March, against an earlier estimate of 7.8 trillion rupees.

India’s total coronavirus cases have crossed 7.12 million, second only to the United States, with deaths reaching 109,150.

The Reserve Bank of India left key policy rates unchanged on Friday, while retaining an accommodative monetary stance to support an economy that is projected to contract by almost 10% in the current fiscal year.

($1

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