1. Technology Leads Stock Declines; Commodities Rally

Stocks pulled back on concerns equities are overvalued and commodities rallied with investors pricing in stronger growth and faster inflation as the global economy recovers from the pandemic. Technology took the brunt of the selling as higher yields dented the appeal of expensive, growth-focused stocks. The Nasdaq 100 slid about 1% and European and Asian markets were broadly negative. Commodities were almost uniformly green. Brent oil climbed above $63 a barrel as Goldman Sachs Group predicted prices could advance into the $70s in coming months. Copper rose above $9,000 a metric ton for the first time in nine years.

The S&P 500 Index declined 0.5% as of 9:55 a.m. New York time.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.5%.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dipped 0.7%.

The MSCI Emerging Market Index declined 2%.

2. WHO Sees Positive Signs; Reopening Plan in U.K.: Virus Update

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is weighing as much as 50 billion euros ($61 billion) in additional debt spending, with officials meeting on Monday to discuss financing for tests and other measures to support Europe’s largest economy. In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson will outline his plan for lifting the lockdown in England, prioritizing the return of schools and outdoor activities over reopening stores, bars and restaurants. WHO said it’s seen some positive signs but cautioned against easing curbs too quickly. The U.S. is poised to reach 500,000 Covid-19 deaths, though the pace of fatalities has slowed dramatically.

3. Bitcoin Pares Drop After Tumbling on Elon Musk’s Price Remarks

Elon Musk’s embrace of Bitcoin earlier this month week rocketed the cryptocurrency almost 50% higher to more than $58,000. His cold shoulder this weekend whipsawed the digital asset. Bitcoin trimmed losses to 5% after plunging as much as 17% earlier Monday. It briefly came back below $50,000 in New York, giving up more than $8,000 in a matter of hours after the world’s richest man tweeted his concern that the price had risen too high too quickly. The world’s largest cryptocurrency has been on a tear this month, propelled by purchases from Musk’s Tesla and institutional investors who say Bitcoin is an attractive alternative to gold and the dollar. In February alone, Bitcoin was up more than 60%, prompting commentary that the run-up is excessive.

4. Snap Hits $100 Billion Market Value After Doubling in 4 Months

Snap Inc. hit $100 billion in market value after surging usage and a rebounding market for digital ads sent the social-media stock soaring this year. The Snapchat owner rose as much as 3% on Monday after Morgan Stanley turned bullish, saying it’s poised for faster-than-expected growth in engagement, revenue and profitability. The stock has doubled since mid-October and is up more than fourfold over the past year amid a sharp increase in usage during the coronavirus pandemic. Social-media companies have seen their revenues swell as stuck-at-home consumers spent more time on their platforms and spending on digital ads rebounded from an initial drop last year. Snap’s daily active users rose to 265 million in the fourth quarter, a 22% increase from the same period a year ago.

5. Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan Enters 3-Week Congress Dash

Democrats begin the final push for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill this week, dropping any pretence of bipartisanship to quickly pass the package before an earlier round of benefits runs out. This will be the first real test for Democrats’ full control of the government since former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, with implications for the rest of Biden’s agenda and the pandemic-battered economy. The House plans to vote as soon as Friday on Democrats’ stimulus package, setting up a Senate vote as soon as next week.

6. U.K.’s Vaccine Milestone Ignites World-Beating Market Rally

A world-leading vaccine campaign is bringing U.K. markets back to life. With around 30% of the adult population receiving at least one shot, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a roadmap for lifting lockdown on Monday — adding fuel to the cross-asset rally. Among the biggest moves of late: The pound has rallied faster than any other major currency this year. U.K. stocks have been generating outsized gains in dollar terms. Companies have been enjoying a borrowing bonanza that’s looking historic.

7. Boeing 777 Engine Blast Spurs Grounding of Some Older Jets

Airlines grounded dozens of older Boeing 777 aircraft after the failure of a Pratt & Whitney engine showered debris into a Denver suburb and prompted U.S. regulators to order emergency inspections. United Airlines halted operations of 24 of its planes in the wake of the incident involving one of its fleets over the weekend after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ordered fan-blade checks on PW4077 engines. Japan’s transport ministry grounded aircraft with the engine variant on Monday, while Korean Air Lines and Asiana Airlines idled theirs and the U.K. banned such jets from its airspace. Shares of Boeing and Pratt & Whitney owner Raytheon Technologies slipped in U.S. trading.

8. Kuwait Seeks Approval to Use Wealth Fund to Finance Deficit

Kuwait’s government submitted a draft law to parliament seeking permission to withdraw as much as 5 billion dinars ($16.5 billion) a year from the country’s sovereign wealth fund to help finance a spiralling deficit. If approved by lawmakers, it would be the first time since the aftermath of the Gulf War in 1990 that Kuwait had extracted funds from the $600 billion Future Generations Fund. Previous withdrawals were treated as loans and had to repay. The government’s also attempting to push through parliament legislation allowing it to tap international bond markets and wants to plug its monthly shortfall using both cash and debt.

9. High Gas and Diesel Prices in India Prompt Smuggling of Fuel

Pump prices are so high in India that some of the gasoline and diesel exported to neighbouring countries is being smuggled back through porous land borders. A large oil truck loaded with 1,360 litres (359 gallons) of diesel that was being smuggled to India, where pump prices are at a record, was held last week in Nepal. Pump prices of gasoline, which have breached the 100 rupees a litre mark in several parts of India, are the highest in the South Asian region. That’s resulting in illegal trade as Indians grapple with soaring fuel prices. “Smuggling has become rampant as prices are cheaper in Nepal because of tax differentiation,” said Ravi Bharti, who operates a gas station at Adapur in eastern India’s Bihar state, less than 3 kilometres (2 miles) from the Nepal border. “This is severely impacting our sales.”

10. Ambani’s $3.4 Billion Retail Deal Stalled by Indian Court

India’s Supreme Court stopped regulatory approval for the Future Group’s $3.4 billion asset sale to Reliance Industries, delaying the deal in a boost for Amazon.com which wants to scuttle the transaction in its bid to dominate the country’s retail sector. Agreeing with the American e-commerce giant’s petition, the top court on Monday overturned a lower court’s ruling and said the National Company Law Tribunal can continue hearing the case but must not give a final nod till further orders. The court also sought written statements from Future Retail and said it will hear the case after three weeks. Future’s stocks and bonds fell.

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