The Wednesday Market Minute
- Global stocks post modest gains in holiday-thinned trading even as President Donald Trump refuses to sign the long-delay COVID relief bill.
- Trump called the $2.3 billion package, which includes $900 billion on COVID spending, a ‘disgrace’ and insists lawmakers boost the $600 support payment to $2,000.
- House Democrats say they’re willing to re-work the deal, but Republican leaders in the Senate may be more reluctant.
- Brexit negotiations continue ahead of the December 31 deadline amid contradictory headlines on progress between London and Brussels.
- Health officials warn that the new COVID variant may have already arrived in the U.S., where cases are rising at a 200,000 daily pace and fatalities are nearing 325,000.
- U.S. equity futures suggest a firmer open on Wall Street after data showing weekly jobless claims fell to 803,000 while durable goods orders posted seven consecutive months of gains.
U.S. equity futures edged higher Wednesday in holiday-thinned trading as bullish sentiment held steady even as President Donald Trump refused to sign a $2.3 billion spending bill that would provide nearly a trillion dollars worth of relief to struggling businesses and families around the country.
Stock futures held onto gains after weekly jobless claims fell 89,000 to 803,000 over the period ending December 19, taking the four-week average down to 812,250.
Trump called the bill, agreed late Monday after months of bitter partisan negotiations, a “disgrace” in a video message posted through his verified Twitter account and insisted lawmakers increased the amount of direct COVID relief payments from $600 to at least $2,000.
“I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation, and to send me a suitable bill, or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package,” Trump said, before adding to his baseless theories that he won the November election by saying: “And maybe that administration will be me.”
House Democrats offered to re-work the deal to boost the COIVD relief payments, but there was little indication that Republican Senators, who control the upper chamber, were willing to add to a spending level they were already uncomfortable with.
Trump’s intervention doesn’t kill the deal, however, given that it earned 92 votes in the Senate and 359 in the House, levels that would easily override any Presidential veto.
U.S. equity futures seemed to reflect that calculus in overnight trading, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicating a 50 point opening bell gain and those linked to the S&P 500 suggesting a 5 point bump to the upside, albeit in volumes that were much lower than an average trading day.
Apple (AAPL) – Get Report shares were the most active pre-market gainer, rising 0.6% to $132.65 each amid comments from Tesla (TSLA) – Get Report founder Elon Muck, who claimed in a series of Tweets yesterday that he attempted to sell…