Stocks Climb as Economic Relief Progresses in Congress

A two-part coronavirus relief package was proposed yesterday

Deputy Editor
Dec 15, 2020 at 9:31 AM
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Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) are eyeing a triple-digit pop this morning, up over 175 points, as Wall Street combs over the latest on coronavirus relief negotiations in congress, while Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech's (BNTX) vaccine continues to be distributed throughout the U.S. Meanwhile, S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) futures are also firmly in the black, as the former attempts to bounce back from its fourth-straight sessions of losses. Elsewhere, Moderna's (MRNA) COVID-19 vaccine is in the spotlight, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling it "highly effective," as it makes its way toward emergency-use approval. 

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • What this historically bullish season could mean for the SPX.  
  • A look at AZN and ALXN options after their billion-dollar deal.  
  • Plus, Eli Lilly stock rises on acquisition news; BIDU boosted on electric vehicles buzz; and EFX gets an upgrade.

Futures Dec 15

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw more than 1.6 million call contracts traded on Monday, and 688,100 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio fell to 0.42 and the 21-day moving average fell to 0.41. 
  2. Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY) stock is up 2.4% in electronic trading, after the company announced its acquisition of Prevail Therapeutics (PRVL) for $22.50 per share, or $880 million, in a deal  potentially valued at about $1.04 billion. Furthermore, Eli Lilly raised its full-year forecast, and increased its quarterly dividend by 15%. Coming into today, the stock is up 20.1% year-to-date. 
  3. Baidu Inc (NASDAQ:BIDU) stock is up 4.1% ahead of the bell today, amid reports that the Chinese search engine is toying with the idea of making its own electric vehicles. Looking to open at a fresh annual high, the stock is up 81.7% since March. 
  4. The shares of Equifax (NYSE:EFX) are up 1.2% ahead of the open, after Atlantic Equities upgraded the stock to "overweight" from "neutral," with an added price-target hike to $228 from $172. Year-to-date, EFX is up 35%. 
  5. Today will bring the start of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) two-day meeting, industrial production and capacity utilization data, and the import price and Empire State manufacturing indexes.


Stocks in Asia Move Lower

Asian markets were lower today, after the rising number of coronavirus infections in multiple countries cast a shadow over the U.S. vaccine rollout. In addition, China’s retail sales growth came in lower-than-expected at 5%, while industrial production growth was in line with expectations at 7%. As a result, China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.06%. Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei and South Korea’s Kospi both dropped 0.2%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng settled 0.7% lower.

Meanwhile, European stocks are mixed, as investors monitor post-Brexit trade deal talks, as well as virus-related restrictions. After Germany and the Netherlands announced stricter measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 over the Christmas season, the United Kingdom said London would follow suit, due to new strain of the virus that may be spreading in southern England. In turn, London’s FTSE 100 was last seen down 0.7%, while France’s CAC 40 and the German DAX are up 0.1% and 0.8%, respectively.





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