Here's the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Dow set to drop after a day of records not seen in nearly 3 years
- GOP senator says Trump, McConnell expected to back stimulus bill
- CDC urges mask wearing as more Californians under lockdown
- Biden to pick California AG Xavier Becerra to lead HHS
- UK to administer Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine to public Tuesday
1. Dow set to drop after a day of records not seen in nearly 3 years
The Dow was set to open down more than 100 points Monday after the 30-stock average, the broader S&P 500, the tech-heavy Nasdaq and the small-cap Russell 2000 all closed at records Friday for the first time in nearly three years. Those highs, early in the historically strong month of December, came despite Friday's record new Covid-19 cases of 227,995 and a much weaker-than-expected government report on November jobs growth. However, some traders saw the 245,000 nonfarm payrolls added last month as a positive because it could pressure lawmakers to mover forward with additional fiscal stimulus to help Americans and U.S. businesses during the pandemic. For the week, the Dow was up 1%, the S&P 500 was up 1.7%, the Nasdaq was up 2.1%, and the Russell 2000 was up 2%.
2. GOP senator says Trump, McConnell expected to back stimulus bill
A proposed $900 billion coronavirus stimulus bill is expected to get backing from President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., according to Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who's involved in bipartisan talks. The package, set for release Monday, would be attached to a larger year-end spending measure needed to avoid a federal government shutdown this coming weekend. The relief legislation language that's being finalized would provide roughly $300 in extra federal weekly unemployment benefits. But it won't include another round of $1,200 checks to Americans, leaving the possibly of direct payments for President-elect Joe Biden and the new Congress to decide.
3. CDC urges mask wearing as more Californians under lockdown
With the seven-day averages of new daily U.S. Covid-19 cases nearing 200,000 and deaths over 2,000, the CDC issued a strong call to action for people to wear masks, stay at home when possible and social distance to help slow the spread of the virus. There are also record U.S. hospitalizations, now more than 100,000 for five straight days as of Sunday.
Two regions in California, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, have triggered the state's new stay-at-home order after capacity in their intensive-care units fell below 15%. The measures, which took effect Sunday night just before midnight, will last for at least three weeks. San Francisco Bay Area also went on lockdown on Sunday night, with health officials there saying they didn't want to wait for ICU capacity to get that bad.
In a newly disclosed case among people close to the president, Rudy Giuliani tweeted Sunday night he's getting "great care" and "recovering quickly" from Covid-19. Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon Giuliani, his personal lawyer, tested positive for coronavirus.
4. Biden to pick California AG Xavier Becerra to lead HHS
Biden will select Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, three sources familiar with the decision told NBC News. If confirmed Becerra, 62, would be the first Latino to lead the department. Biden also picked a Harvard infectious disease expert, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, as CDC director. On Sunday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the Trump administration's coronavirus response coordinator, warned the winter infection surge could be the "worst event" ever in the U.S.
Trump's coronavirus vaccine czar, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, said he'll meet with Biden this week to discuss the expected vaccine rollouts in the U.S. later this month. The FDA is set to hold hearings this week on the vaccine candidate from Pfizer and BioNTech and next week on the vaccine from Moderna. Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, agreed to serve as Biden's chief medical advisor, fostering continuity from the Trump administration to the Biden administration.
5. UK to administer Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine to public Tuesday
The U.K. is preparing to administer Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine to the public Tuesday, making it one of the first countries in the world to roll out a coronavirus inoculation. U.K. health regulators last week cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech inoculation for emergency use. Health workers, care home workers and Britons over 80 years old will be among the first to receive the shots, in what British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called "one of the biggest civilian logistical efforts" ever in the U.K. "The first tranche of vaccine deliveries will be landing at hospitals by Monday in readiness," said the medical director for Britain's National Health Service.
— NBC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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