1. Global Stocks Hit Record as Bonds Slip; Oil Rises

Investors are taking comfort from the continued rollout of vaccines and data suggesting a declining trend in infections in countries like the U.S. A Citigroup gauge of global risk aversion dropped to its lowest since the pandemic first roiled markets last year. Weaker-than-forecast U.S. jobs data Friday reinforced economic risks as the pandemic lingers, but also highlighted the case for further stimulus. President Joe Biden is pushing for a mammoth $1.9 trillion economic relief measure. Some commentators, such as former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, have raised questions about the size of the package and risks such as much faster inflation.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index increased 0.4% as of 8:24 a.m. New York time.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.7%.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.7%.

The MSCI Emerging Market Index climbed 0.2%.

2. Trump’s Impeachment Trial a Day Away With Few Details Settled

The U.S. Senate is a day away from starting former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial with many of the details still to be ironed out even as the outcome — an acquittal — is all but assured. “We’re planning as well as we can based on the briefs in the case, but we don’t know how it’s going to proceed at all.” Trump’s defense team, led by Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. is due to file its trial brief on Monday. They previewed their case in an initial response to the Jan. 13 House impeachment that argued the trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office, and said his fiery Jan. 6 speech to a crowd of supporters near the White House didn’t incite the violence and is protected by the First Amendment.

3. Bitcoin Jumps to Record $44,000 as Tesla Invests $1.5 Billion

Bitcoin surged to an all-time high after Tesla said it’s invested $1.5 billion, becoming the biggest company yet to back the controversial cryptocurrency. Bitcoin jumped as much as 15% after Tesla made the disclosure in a regulatory filing, with prices exceeding $44,000 for the first time. Tesla also said it would begin accepting the digital token as a form of payment for its electric cars. That Tesla, one of the world’s most influential companies, and billionaire Elon Musk have thrown their weight behind Bitcoin is a massive sign of support for the cryptocurrency, which has been criticized by policymakers for facilitating money laundering and fraud.

4. Dogecoin Hits Another Record After Musk, Snoop Dogg Tweets

Dogecoin, the tongue-in-cheek cryptocurrency featuring a Shiba Inu dog as a mascot, briefly touched a record Monday after billionaire Elon Musk, rapper Snoop Dogg and Kiss bassist Gene Simmons tweeted about it. The token climbed to a peak of about 8.2 U.S. cents and a market capitalization of $10.5 billion during Asian trading hours Monday before pulling back. The coin was ranked among the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market value. Dogecoin’s surprising social media-fueled rally is just one instance of the revival in cryptocurrencies over the past year. The two biggest tokens, Bitcoin and Ether, both scaled fresh peaks in recent weeks.

5. Putin’s Once-Scorned Vaccine Now Favorite in Pandemic Fight

President Vladimir Putin’s announcement in August that Russia had cleared the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine for use before it even completed safety trials sparked skepticism worldwide. Now he may reap diplomatic dividends as Russia basks in arguably its biggest scientific breakthrough since the Soviet era. Countries are lining up for supplies of Sputnik V after peer-reviewed results published in The Lancet medical journal this week showed the Russian vaccine protects against the deadly virus about as well as U.S. and European shots, and far more effectively than Chinese rivals. At least 20 countries have approved the inoculation for use, including European Union member-state Hungary, while key markets such as Brazil and India are close to authorizing it. Now Russia is setting its sights on the prized EU market as the bloc struggles with its vaccination program amid supply shortages.

6. London Finance Takes Another Hit as Carbon Market Goes to EU

Intercontinental Exchange plans to move its 1 billion-euro ($1.2 billion) daily market for European carbon emissions contracts to the Netherlands from London in a blow to the U.K.’s attempts to build a green finance powerhouse after Brexit. Stuart Williams, president of ICE Futures Europe, said the decision to shift the business into the European Union will help traders and investors “manage climate price risk in the most cost-effective and seamless manner.” The market is a key plank of the EU’s efforts to combat climate change. The shift comes after the Brexit transition period ended on Dec. 31, cutting off access to most London trading from the bloc and jolting several major markets.

7. Hong Kong Stocks Are About to Lose Biggest Source of Funds

Hong Kong’s stock traders are about to find out whether the $7.3 trillion market can hold its own without its biggest source of flows. Starting Tuesday, trading links via Hong Kong’s exchange operator allowing mainland traders to buy domestic stocks will halt through Feb. 17 due to the Lunar New Year holiday. The stock connect closure will slam the brakes on record levels of inflows that helped propel Hong Kong’s equities market to its best start to a year since 1985. Investors north of the border turned bargain hunters in late 2020 after valuations in some sectors onshore reached the highest in more than a decade. Mainland investors net bought nearly $48 billion worth of Hong Kong stocks in the first five weeks of this year, which is already more than half of 2020’s total.

8. SoftBank’s Vision Fund Posts Record $8 Billion Profit

SoftBank Group reported a record profit in its Vision Fund as a surging stock market lifted the value of its portfolio companies, but founder Masayoshi Son wiped out a significant chunk of those gains with his controversial trading in derivatives. The Vision Fund reported a 844.1 billion yen ($8 billion) profit in the December quarter, surpassing record numbers set just a quarter earlier. A global rally in technology shares has boosted the value of SoftBank’s stakes in publicly traded firms like Uber and paved the way for IPOs from the likes of DoorDash. Those gains, which had been widely expected, were offset by fallout from Son’s decision last year to start dabbling in trading stocks and options. SoftBank posted a 285.3 billion yen derivatives loss in the period.

9. Facing Resistance, China Pushes Back 50 Million Vaccine Target

China has pushed back a target to inoculate 50 million people against Covid-19 by almost two months amid concerns over supply and hesitancy among the population around vaccines. The new plan, which was recently communicated to health officials, shifted the timeline for reaching 50 million shots to the end of March. People in key groups, including frontline medical workers, will continue to be the focus of the rollout — which has seen just over 31 million doses administered as of Feb.3 — with vaccination then widened to the general population in April.

10. Taiwan’s Exports Hit Record High on 5G and Holiday Demand

Taiwan exported a record amount in January, fueled by rising demand for computer chips and by companies rushing to get components ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays in February. Shipments surged almost 37% to $34.3 billion, the most in data going back to 1981. Imports also hit a record over the same period, up almost 30%. Taiwan’s economy was one of the strongest performers globally in 2020, with quick domestic suppression of Covid-19 and booming overseas demand for its goods driving strong exports and company profits. That trend looks to be extending into 2021.

Curated from Bloomberg.com

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