1. Stocks & Equity Futures Climb; Bonds Retreat
U.S. equity futures and global stocks pushed higher after President Donald Trump backed away from earlier threats and signed a coronavirus aid package. S&P 500 Index contracts climbed after Trump’s surprise approval of the combined $2.3 trillion Covid-19 relief and government funding package. Germany’s DAX Index rose to a record and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up 0.3%. Bonds retreated and the dollar ticked lower.
Futures on the S&P 500 Index rose 0.7% as of early morning in New York.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.8%.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.3%.
The MSCI Emerging Market Index was little changed.
2. EU-U.K. Trade Deal Gets Nod From Bloc’s Envoys in Brussels
European Union ambassadors gave the go-ahead to the bloc’s draft free-trade agreement with the U.K., paving the way for the deal to take effect on Jan. 1. “EU ambassadors have unanimously approved the provisional application of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement as of January 1, 2021,” Sebastian Fischer, a Brussels-based spokesman for the German government, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said in a Twitter post on Monday. The thumbs-up by EU member-country envoys sets the stage for formal approval by the 27-nation bloc’s governments on Tuesday and for a vote by the U.K. House of Commons on Dec. 30.
3. Bitcoin on Longest Winning Run Since 2019 – Tops $28,000
Bitcoin is on track for its longest monthly winning streak in more than a year after touching a record above $28,000 over the weekend. The largest cryptocurrency reached an all-time high of $28,365 on Sunday before paring some of the advances. The run of outsized returns over October, November and December so far is the longest such stretch since mid-2019. “My sense is we’re very close to a top — we could hit $30,000 though,” said Vijay Ayyar, head of business development with crypto exchange Luno in Singapore. “We should definitely see a pullback, but the magnitude is probably lesser. We might only see 10% to 15% drops.” The cryptocurrency has advanced about 270% this year.
4. Europe Rushes to Boost Vaccine Output to Speed Pandemic Exit
Germany is pushing to ramp up production of Covid-19 vaccines as Europe faces pressure to close the gap with Britain and the U.S. in a bid to end the pandemic. With inoculations gradually getting started across the region, authorities are concerned about the slow pace of the rollout could force longer lockdowns and cause more economic damage for months to come. “We’re working intensely on having additional production here in Germany soon,” Jens Spahn, the country’s health minister, said Monday on ZDF television, adding that more capacity could be available at a facility in Marburg as soon as February. “That would increase the amount considerably.” The sense of urgency has grown amid concerns about a faster-spreading strain that emerged in the U.K. and has been found in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.
5. Turkey Hikes Minimum Wage by 22%; Short of Labor Demands
Turkey’s minimum wage will rise 22% next year, challenging efforts to keep down inflation while dismaying unions that found it insufficient to address the economic hardships caused by the coronavirus. The monthly net minimum wage will be 2,826 liras ($377), Labor Minister Zehra Zumrut Selcuk said in Ankara on Monday. About half of all workers in the country of 83 million people earn a monthly salary at or near minimum wage. Turkey’s largest labour confederation, Turk-Is, which represented workers at the wage negotiations, called the increase “inadequate.” But unions had no immediate plans to combat the government’s decision.
6. India Stocks Climb to Fresh Records on Steady Foreign Inflows
India stocks rose as inflows from foreign investors headed for a record quarter. The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.8% to 47,353.75 in Mumbai. The NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced 0.9%. Both gauges closed at fresh all-time highs. Indian equities have surged as part of a global shift by investors into emerging markets as countries begin rolling out vaccines. The inflows have shown little sign of slowing for the holiday season, as investors poured about $6.5 billion into the market this month. That would be the second-highest monthly total on record.
7. Alibaba Probe Stirs Global Worry, $200 Billion China Tech Rout
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. led a second day of frenetic selling among China’s largest tech firms, driven by fears that antitrust scrutiny will spread beyond Jack Ma’s internet empire and engulf the country’s most powerful corporations. Alibaba and its three largest rivals — Tencent Holdings Ltd., food delivery giant Meituan and JD.com Inc. — have shed nearly $200 billion over two sessions since Thursday when regulators revealed an investigation into alleged monopolistic practices at Ma’s signature company. That marked the formal start of the Communist Party’s crackdown on not just Alibaba but also, potentially, the wider and increasingly influential tech sphere. Alibaba fell 8% Monday, shedding $270 billion of value since its October peak. Tencent and Meituan both tumbled more than 6%.
8. Oil Gains on U.S. Stimulus and Covid-19 Vaccine Optimism
Oil climbed as the U.K. is poised to grant regulatory approval to another Covid-19 vaccine and as the U.S. passed its stimulus bill into law. Futures in New York are trading 1.2% higher after dipping in early trading. Britain’s drug regulator could clear the shot produced by AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford for use as early as this week. Crude reversed losses of as much as 1.5% after President Donald Trump signed the long-awaited bill containing $900 billion of virus relief, having previously criticized the stimulus package. The bill’s approval weakened the dollar, raising demand for dollar-denominated commodities, and also raised hopes of higher oil consumption in the future.
9. Drugmakers Agree to Halve Prices to Secure Access to China
Drugmakers from AstraZeneca Plc and GlaxoSmithKline to BeiGene agreed to cut prices on some of their newest drugs in China by an average of 51% in order to be covered by the country’s national insurance fund. A total of 119 new therapies — treating ailments from pulmonary diseases and diabetes to cancers and lupus — were added for coverage by the state-run medical safety net after drawn-out negotiations, the National Healthcare Security Administration said in a notice posted on its website Monday. Companies are eager to get their treatments on the list even at steep discounts to gain access to the world’s second-biggest market for pharmaceuticals.
10. Germany Plans Vaccine Boost; Norway’s Quarantine: Virus Update
Germany is seeking to expand production of Covid-19 shots to help bolster Europe’s vaccination program. The sense of urgency has grown amid concerns about a faster-spreading strain that emerged in the U.K. and has since been found elsewhere in Europe. U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill containing $900 billion in pandemic relief. Top U.S. health officials warned of a post-Christmas surge in infections, as cases slowed amid scattered holiday reporting. Singapore began relaxing virus rules Monday as the city-state moves into the final phase of curbs. Indonesia imposed a temporary ban on all foreigners from visiting the country, while Taiwan will increase the quarantine period for flight crews to seven days.
CURATED FROM ECONOMIC TIMES, THE NEW YORK TIMES, AND BLOOMBERG.