ANKARA

Major US stock market indices opened higher Monday in hope that relief bill talks in Congress could soon produce a stimulus package to aid the coronavirus-hit economy.

The Dow Jones was up 210 points at 30,256 points, while the S&P 500 added 24 points to stand at 3,688 points, as both indices were up 0.7% each at 9:40 a.m. EDT (1440GMT).

The Nasdaq added 104 points to climb to 12,482 points, up 0.8%.

Investors are awaiting a bipartisan relief package that would put the world’s largest economy back on its feet after American lawmakers on Sunday were reportedly planning to divide a $908 billion COVID-19 stimulus package into two separate bills.

The first bill includes $748 billion aid for small businesses, unemployment benefits, and vaccine distribution, while the other bill proposes $160 billion in state and local aid.

After months of delays, a bipartisan group of senators is expected to introduce the bills as soon as Monday. The US public is hoping for their approval before Congress leaves for its holiday break next week.

Investors this week will also closely follow the Federal Reserve’s last scheduled meeting of the year, set to conclude Wednesday.

Although the central bank is not expected to make a change in its benchmark interest rate, investors will try to find clues on how Fed Chair Jerome Powell handles monetary policies next year to mitigate the economic downturn.

Oil prices were up on Monday on hopes the global economic recovery would come faster than earlier estimates as COVID-19 vaccine distribution has started in the US, the world’s largest oil-consuming country.

The price of Brent crude was just above the critical threshold of $50 per barrel when US markets opened, while American West Texas Intermediate was close to $47 a barrel. Both benchmarks were up by more than 0.2%.

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