GLOBAL MARKETS Stimulus hopes boost stocks to record; bitcoin soars

LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) – World stocks scaled new peaks and oil marched higher on Thursday as investors lapped up risky assets on hopes of a U.S. fiscal stimulus and the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep pumping cash into markets.

From stocks to safe-haven gold and volatile bitcoin, financial assets were in festive mood. Bitcoin hit another all-time high after first shattering the $20,000 level on Wednesday.

U.S. congressional negotiators were “closing in on” a $900 billion COVID-19 aid bill expected to include $600-$700 stimulus checks to individuals, lawmakers said on Wednesday.

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Such checks issued during Spring led to money pouring into stock markets and bitcoin from punters, helping stocks recover quickly from the COVID-19 blow. A trader in London pointed to chances of a new retail-led boost to stock markets.

Wall Street…


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