5 things to know before the stock market opens Monday
Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Wall Street set to rise after best week since November
- Tesla invests $1.5 billion in bitcoin, which soared to all-time high
- Yellen says Biden stimulus could result in full employment next year
- Trump impeachment trial starts this week
- South Africa suspends plans to use AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine
1. Wall Street set to rise after best week since November
Dow futures pointed to about a 150-point gain at Monday's open, an advance that would exceed the 30-stock average's closing record and its intraday all-time high, both of which happened last month. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq on Friday closed at record highs, while the Dow's gain was about 40 points shy of a closing record as a disappointing January jobs report boosted hopes for further economic stimulus to help Americans and U.S. businesses during the pandemic. All three stock benchmarks logged their best weeks since November. The Reddit-fueled trading frenzy around short-squeeze names receded as shares of GameStop lost 70% last week, even with Friday's 19% gain. The previous week, the video game retailer's stock soared 400%. Shares rose 12% in Monday's premarket trading.
2. Tesla invests $1.5 billion in bitcoin, which soars to all-time high
Tesla, in an SEC filing, said the electric auto maker has purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin after changing its investment policy last month. Bitcoin soared over $43,000 in an all-time high Monday. The Tesla filing also said, "We expect to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for our products in the near future, subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis, which we may or may not liquidate upon receipt." Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been talking up bitcoin and dogecoin, another cryptocurrency, in recent tweets. Shares of Tesla rose in Monday's premarket trading.
3. Yellen says Biden stimulus could result in full employment next year
The U.S. economy could return to full employment in 2022 if President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package were passed, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday. Long-term unemployment is around a historical peak. While Biden has said he wants to get GOP support for his Covid relief measure, Democrats are taking steps toward passing his approach without any Republican votes. Republicans have opposed the $1.9 trillion price tag and called for lowering the income cap for receiving the full $1,400 direct payment.
4. Trump impeachment trial starts this week
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, one of Donald Trump's harshest Republican critics in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, said Sunday he sees a conviction of the former president at his impeachment trial as "very unlikely." Trump's unprecedented second Senate impeachment trial will start on Tuesday. With a 50-50 split in the Senate, it would take 17 Republicans voting with every Democrat to convict. If the Senate does so, it could also vote to bar Trump from holding federal office again or getting certain perks reserved for former presidents.
5. South Africa suspends plans to use AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine
South Africa has suspended plans to inoculate its frontline health care workers with AstraZeneca's vaccine after a small clinical trial suggested it was not effective in preventing mild to moderate illness from the variant dominant in that country. The disappointing early results from the study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, indicated that giving the AstraZeneca vaccine may not be useful in South Africa. AstraZeneca's vaccine has not been approved in the U.S. Only vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have been approved for emergency use so far by the FDA. One from Johnson & Johnson will be reviewed later this month by the agency's vaccine advisory committee.
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