1. U.S. Futures, Global Stocks Ride the Stimulus Wave

U.S. equity futures rose with global stocks as a wave of stimulus optimism spread across Europe and Asia. S&P 500 contracts added 0.4%, pointing to another day of gains in the wake of a combined $2.3 trillion Covid-19 relief and government funding package that won the president’s approval Sunday evening, as the House-backed Donald Trump’s proposal to boost stimulus checks to $2,000 from $600. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 rose 0.8% with banks and builders the only decliners. The FTSE 100 Index climbed more than 2% in the first session since the U.K.’s Christmas Eve trade deal with the European Union. 

Futures on the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.4% as of early morning New York time.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.8%.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index jumped 1%.

The MSCI Emerging Market Index increased 0.6%.

2. After 4.5 Years, Brexit to Become U.K. Law in a Day

The U.K. and the European Union will on Wednesday sign the treaty formalizing the post-Brexit trade agreement the two sides reached on Christmas Eve. After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel sign the document, it will be flown by Royal Air Force jet to London where Prime Minister Boris Johnson will do the same. British lawmakers will get only a day to debate the agreement, because it needs to be implemented by the time the Brexit transition period ends at 11 p.m. on Dec. 31.

3. U.S. Vaccinations Lag; U.K. Enlists Army – Virus Update

The U.S. government’s top infectious-disease doctor said the country’s vaccination rate is lagging, buttressing comments made last week by Operation Warp Speed’s chief scientific adviser. The doctor, Anthony Fauci, said on CNN that U.S. officials had hoped to have more people vaccinated by the end of December. He also expressed concern about a possible virus surge in January. The U.K. government will draft in the armed forces to help with coronavirus testing in schools as pressure builds on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to delay the return of students. A new strain of the virus is taking hold in the U.K. and was found in Pakistan in three returning travellers.

4. Traders Boost Bets Against Dollar to Highest in Almost a Decade

Speculative traders are ending the year doubling down on their bets against the dollar. Net short non-commercial positions in futures linked to the U.S. Dollar Index have surged to the most since March 2011, according to the latest Commodity Futures Trading Commission data. The gauge of the U.S. currency has fallen over 6% this year as investors turned against the greenback amid unprecedented monetary easing from the Federal Reserve and a move away from haven assets. A combination of negative U.S. real yields, extended valuations across American assets and a current account deficit that requires dollar depreciation to finance will likely weigh on the dollar into next year.

5. Senate Has Stimulus Dilemma as Democrats Side With Trump

Republicans will likely block Democrats’ attempts to have the Senate follow the House in boosting stimulus payments for most Americans to $2,000, even though President Donald Trump backs the bigger checks. Forty-four House Republicans joined 231 Democrats on Monday to pass a bill increasing the payments from the $600 in the pandemic relief legislation Trump signed on Sunday. His surprise demand last week for bigger payments put Republicans in a bind after they resisted anything higher than $600 during the drawn-out negotiations on the original bill. Democrats were quick to use that as a pressure point.

6. Wuhan’s Covid Cases May Have Been 10 Times Higher: Study

The scale of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan early this year may have been nearly 10 times the recorded tally, a study conducted by China’s public health authorities indicates, leaving the city where the coronavirus first took hold still well short of the immunity required to protect against a potential resurgence. As many as 500,000 residents may have been infected, nearly 10 times more than the 50,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases reported by health authorities in mid-April, when the survey was conducted.

7. Fiat Chrysler to Build Electric, Hybrid Cars in Poland

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said it’s planning to start making hybrid and electric cars at its Polish plant in the second half of 2022. The group will expand and modernize its factory in Tychy to eventually manufacture Jeeps, Fiats and Alfa Romeos, it said in a statement on its website on Tuesday. It will invest 755 million zloty ($204 million) in the project “with prospects for many times more,” Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin said on Twitter. Fiat Chrysler’s Polish plant produces Fiat 500 and Lancia Ypsilon small cars and employs about 2,500 people.

8. Saudi Arabia Wealth Fund Starts Private Security Firm

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund started a firm to provide private security services in the kingdom as part of efforts to diversify its business. The National Security Services Co., also known as SAFE, “will focus on providing security services that include security consulting, security solutions, training and development, and a range of specialized services,” the Public Investment Fund said on its website. It didn’t provide financial details. The wealth fund has rapidly expanded since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman decided to use it as a vehicle for his ambitions to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil, while also transforming the way it invests its wealth.

9. China’s Record 5G Blueprint for 2021 Electrifies Telecom Stocks

China unveiled plans to almost double its fifth-generation wireless capacity next year, sending ZTE Corp. and other network gear makers soaring. Carriers from China Mobile Ltd. to China Telecom Corp. will build upwards of 600,000 base stations to accelerate 5G coverage across major cities, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Xiao Yaqing said at an industry event. The envisioned rollout will come on top of at least 718,000 stations nationwide that transmit and amplify mobile signals. China began this year to put in place the world’s largest and most sophisticated 5G network in a $1.4 trillion rollout of technology infrastructure it hopes will boost the world’s No. 2 economy and underpin everything from autonomous vehicles to AI.

10. Some of 2020’s Most Expensive Stocks Sink in Year-End Selloff

Some of the year’s most expensive stocks encountered a wave of selling as investors moved to lock in gains in the last week of 2020. Zoom Video Communications Inc. and DocuSign Inc., fell more than 6% on Monday. Both companies have seen their shares soar this year amid a surge in new users and are trading at more than 20 times next year’s projected sales. Among other notable decliners were digital-ad company Trade Desk Inc., which fell 11%, and data-mining company Palantir Technologies Inc., which suffered a 7.6% drop. DoorDash, the food-delivery company whose shares debuted earlier this month, sank 6.7%.

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