Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Dow futures sink on omicron concerns after rough week
- Moderna jumps after its booster appears to protect against omicron
- Goldman cuts GDP forecast after Sen. Manchin dooms Biden bill
- Davos gathering of world leaders, billionaires and CEOs postponed
- Elon Musk says he'll pay over $11 billion in taxes this year
1. Dow futures sink on omicron concerns after rough week
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U.S. stock futures dropped more than 1% on Monday, heading into a holiday-shortened week filled with concern about how quickly the omicron Covid variant is spreading around the world. Dow futures fell more than 400 points after the 30-stock average dropped nearly 1.5% on Friday and sank almost 1.7% for the week. The S&P 500 fell 1% on Friday and nearly 2% for the week. The Nasdaq dipped 0.07% on Friday and sank roughly 3% for the week. Despite the recent weakness, all three benchmarks were still way up for the year, with the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq rising more than 15.5%, 23% and 17.7%, respectively, in 2021, as of Friday's close.
2. Moderna jumps after its booster appears to protect against omicron
Stock futures paired deeper losses early Monday after Moderna said a third dose of its Covid vaccine appears to provide significant protection against omicron. The booster dose of 50 micrograms, which has already been cleared for use, can "boost neutralizing antibody levels 37-fold higher than pre-boost levels." Preliminary data on a 100-microgram dose, the same as the first two shots, showed an "approximately 83-fold" increase. Without a booster, the company's vaccine has been been found to be far less effective against omicron. Moderna said it'll continue to develop an omicron-specific booster. Shares jumped 5% in the premarket, a standout in Monday's broader market slide.
3. Goldman cuts GDP forecast after Sen. Manchin dooms Biden bill
The apparent failure of President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" plan means that economic growth could be weaker than expected next year, according to Goldman Sachs. The plan hit a wall Sunday when Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said he would not support his party's legislation, meaning that the bill does not have enough votes to pass the 50-50 Senate. "While BBB in its current form looks unlikely, there is still a good chance that Congress enacts a much smaller set of fiscal proposals dealing with manufacturing incentives and supply chain issues" hampered in part by Covid, Goldman's Sunday note to clients said.
4. Davos gathering of world leaders, billionaires and CEOs postponed
The World Economic Forum said Monday that due to Covid concerns it'll postpone its in-person annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, a gathering that brings together world leaders, billionaires and CEOs. The event had been scheduled from Jan. 17 to Jan. 21, with the aim of addressing economic, environmental, political and social fault-lines exacerbated by the pandemic. "It is now planned for early summer," the WEF said in a statement. Organizers said that an online series of "State of the World" sessions will be held instead, "to focus on shaping solutions to the world's most pressing challenges." The WEF canceled a summer version of its meeting set to take place in Singapore in August. A virtual conference was held earlier this year.
5. Elon Musk says he'll pay over $11 billion in taxes this year
Elon Musk faces a hefty tax bill this year — possibly the biggest in U.S. history. "For those wondering, I will pay over $11 billion in taxes this year," the Tesla CEO tweeted Monday. Musk has sold off $14 billion worth of Tesla stock since early November, after asking his followers in a Twitter poll if he should sell 10% of his holdings. The response to that poll was a resounding "yes." However, regardless of the vote, it's likely Musk would have started selling anyway to pay options-related taxes. Tesla shares fell about 2% in Monday's premarket. While still up more than 30% this year, Tesla has dropped 15% in the past month, back under the $1 trillion market cap level.
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