Stocks Start Lower Monday as Stimulus Overshadowed by New Strain of Covid in UK

Democrats hope to pass more stimulus in January. Plus, Trump sends two more blows to China in his waning days in office.
Anthony RussoDec 21,2020,16:18

After months of fighting over a stimulus package amid the deadly Covid-19 pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of Americans, Congress has finally struck a deal as investors feared over a new strain of the coronavirus in the U.K.

The bipartisan agreement worth $900 billion includes $600 in direct payments to most Americans and $300 per week in federal unemployment checks. Republican Senate Majority Mitch McConnell confirmed late Sunday to reporters that the four congressional leaders “finalized an agreement.”

While the deal is better than nothing, Democrats were pushing for a $2.2 trillion relief package ahead of the election which included $600 a week in unemployment aid and $1,200 in direct payments to Americans.

Before the election, President Trump supported a relief package that was as high as $1.8 trillion, which McConnell wanted no part of.

Democrats Hope to Control Senate and Pass More Stimulus in 2021

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer backed the deal but said more relief should be passed next year.

“While this short term deal is necessary to meet the urgent and growing needs that so many people are facing immediately going into the winter, this bill is not sufficient.”

In early 2021, Democrats will hope to complete their blue wave in Washington and retake control of the Senate. To do that, Democrats must win the two January run-off races in Georgia, a state in which President-elect Joe Biden won narrowly by just under 12,000 votes. If the Senate falls in the hands of the Democrats, more and perhaps bigger stimulus packages could be passed next year.

Despite the agreement, investors appear to be spooked by a new viral coronavirus strain in the U.K. Last week, the U.K warned the new coronavirus variant could be as much as 70% more transmissible compared with the original strain of the disease, according to CNBC. Several European countries have halted flights from the U.K.

In early trading Monday, the Dow Jones dropped 185 points, the S&P 500 slipped 1% to 3,670.90 points, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 133 points.

Hong Kong Stocks Fall After Trump Sends Two Final Kisses Goodbye to Beijing

Hong Kong stocks ended lower Monday as trade tensions between Washington and Beijing took their latest twists.

In what is expected to be President Trump’s last 30 days in office (baring something bizarre), his administration sent two more blows to Beijing.

The U.S commerce department said Friday that it is adding around 60 Chinese firms to its trade blacklist including the nation’s top chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing (OTC: SMICY; HKEX: 00981) and drone specialist SZ DJI Technology.

Also Friday, President Trump signed a bill into law that aims to delist Chinese firms on U.S. exchanges that refuse to abide by auditing standards. Now, we wait to see if Beijing will be willing to comply.

Topics:Joe Biden, Trump, Semiconductor Manufacturing, Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell, SZ DJI Technology.