Roundup: U.S. equities post weekly losses amid stimulus proposal, soft data

NEW YORK, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Wall Street's major averages decreased in the week as investors digested President-elect Joe Biden's proposed COVID-19 aid plan and a slew of lackluster economic data.

For the week ending Friday, the Dow fell 0.9 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both lost 1.5 percent.

The S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index, which is designed to track the performance of the 50 largest Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges by total market cap, logged a weekly decline of 2.05 percent.

The above market moves came despite U.S. plans for a large stimulus package.

Biden on Thursday unveiled a 1.9-trillion-U.S.-dollar COVID-19 relief bill, indicating the urgency to fight the raging pandemic and bolster the ravaged economy amid surging coronavirus cases.

"Just as we are in the midst of a dark winter of this pandemic as cases, hospitalizations, and deaths spike at record levels, there is real pain overwhelming the real economy," Biden said in a speech to the nation from Wilmington, Delaware Thursday night.

In his speech, Biden announced a two-step plan of rescue and recovery, the first being the American Rescue Plan, which will "tackle the pandemic" and get direct financial assistance and relief to Americans "who need it the most."

Overall, the 1.9-trillion-dollar rescue plan includes over 400 billion dollars to combat the pandemic directly such as more funding for testing and vaccine distribution, roughly 1 trillion dollars in direct relief to households, and over 400 billion for hard-hit small businesses and communities.

The United States has registered more than 23.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases with related deaths exceeding 393,000 as of Saturday afternoon, showed a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, a batch of newly-released economic data showed the soaring COVID-19 infections continue to wound the U.S. economy.

U.S. retail sales slipped 0.7 percent in December, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. The November data was revised down to show sales declining 1.4 percent instead of 1.1 percent as previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales unchanged in December.

U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, soared to 965,000 in the week ending Jan. 9, following 784,000 in the prior week, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had estimated 800,000 new claims.

U.S. consumer price index increased 0.4 percent in December, after rising 0.2 percent in November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. The reading was roughly in line with a Dow Jones estimate.

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