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Biden admin could adjust who qualifies for $1,400 stimulus checks: How the headlines can affect your money

President Joe Biden indicated he’s open to lowering the income threshold to qualify.

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Federal stimulus checks are prepared for printing at the Philadelphia Financial Center.
Jeff Fusco | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Stocks notch a 3rd day of gains, fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits, and the White House is mulling who might qualify for a 3rd round of stimulus payments. Here's how the headlines could affect your money.

Market builds on gains

The Dow and the S&P 500 rose for the 3rd straight day Wednesday, at 0.12% and 0.1%, respectively. The Nasdaq slipped 0.02%, narrowly missing a record close. 

Markets continued to rise Thursday morning, building on this week's winning streak.

Who's eligible for the $1,400 stimulus checks?

President Joe Biden encouraged democratic lawmakers to "act fast" on his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package but told lawmakers Wednesday he's open to concessions. 

While the president remained firm on his commitment of sending direct 3rd-round stimulus payments of up to $1,400, he indicated he's open to lowering the income threshold to qualify. 

The latest version under discussion would target lower-income Americans. The government would send $1,400 payments to individuals earning less than $50,000, and $2,800 to married couples earning under $100,000.

When determining eligibility for the 2 previous stimulus checks, the government's income thresholds were higher. In March and December of 2020, legislation outlined direct economic impact payments would be sent to to individuals earning less than $75,000 and married couples earning under $150,000.

Unemployment claims fall to a 9-week low

The number of Americans newly filing for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in more than 2 months, data from the Department of Labor shows.

First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 779,000 last week. That's an improvement from the prior week and better than economists expected. 

Thursday's data is the latest sign of improvement in the job market. ADP announced Wednesday that private companies added 174,000 jobs in January, more than triple the number economists expected. 

Words you've heard: SPAC

A special acquisition company, also known as a SPAC or blank-check firm, is a shell company that raises funds in an IPO with the aim of acquiring a private company. The private company then becomes public as a result of the merger. 

23andMe, one of the most popular consumer-DNA testing providers, announced Thursday its plans to go public by merging with a SPAC backed by British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

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