(28 December 2020)DAILY MARKET BRIEF 1:Equities Turn Bullish After Trump Backs $2.3 Trillion Stimulus

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US stock index futures turned bullish after President Donald Trump gave up his threats to block the $900 billion stimulus package voted by Congress last week. He backed the relief bill a few hours ago.

At the time of writing, futures on Dow Jones rose over 0.40%, and futures on Nasdaq and the S&P 500 have added over 0.50%.

Last week, when trading closed earlier on Thursday, the three benchmark indexes ended slightly higher, except for the S&P 500, which fell 0.2%.

On Sunday, Trump put his signature on a combined stimulus bill worth $2.3 trillion, including the $900 million bill voted by Congress. The relief bill brings back unemployment benefits and prevents a government shutdown.

Trump required Congress to increase the size of direct payments to the unemployed from $600 to $2,000.

Besides the $900 billion voted by Congress, the package includes $1.4 trillion for funding government agencies. If Trump hadn’t signed the bill, the federal government shutdown would have started tomorrow.

It is not clear why Trump suddenly backed the stimulus package, but he encountered pressure including from members of his party.

Meanwhile, the pandemic is preventing a rapid economic recovery in the US, as the daily death toll maintains above 3,000, which is the highest since the virus reached the American continent.

At the end of last week, Inovio Pharmaceuticals said that its experimental COVID vaccine was immunogenic in 100% of cases, according to Phase 1 trial. Inovio’s vaccine doesn’t have to be stored at low temperatures like the vaccine produced by Pfizer. Inovio shares rose about 2% on Thursday.

In Asia, stocks are mixed on Monday, though stocks reacted positively to Trump’s support for the relief bill.

Markets in Australia and New Zealand are closed for Boxing Day.

At the time of writing, China’s Shanghai Composite is down 0.25%, while the Shenzhen Component has gained 0.10%.

Shares of Alibaba have tumbled over 13%, the most ever, after China’s State Administration for Market Regulation started an investigation into the company over suspected monopolistic behavior. Earlier today, the company increased its share buyback program to $10 billion.

On Sunday, China’s central bank revealed that it had asked payments giant Ant Group, a subsidiary of Alibaba, to give up its lending and other consumer finance services, and focus on its payment operations.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is down 0.15% after opening higher.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.74% higher. The country’s industrial output showed zero growth in November, after five months of growth.

South Korea’s KOSPI is down 0.03% after opening higher.

By Strategy Desk

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