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Shares were mostly higher in Asia on Thursday, buoyed by hopes the U.S. Congress may finally deliver fresh aid to help American businesses and families weather the pandemic.

Congressional leaders appeared late Wednesday to be on the brink of a COVID-19 economic aid package that would extend help to individuals and businesses and ship coronavirus vaccines to millions.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 3,701.17 on Wednesday, about 1 point off its record set last week.

Economists, investors and even Fed officials have been saying more support is crucial, because the Fed’s tools alone can help the economy only so much.

Even without lockdowns, the rising death toll of the pandemic is scaring customers away from businesses and normal economic activity.

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