What’s Driving the Markets and What’s Coming up?
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- Preparations underway for the UK’s Covid vaccination campaign
- Few newer jobs in the US
The week promises to be an exciting one with important meetings, developments, and milestones across Europe and the US. Let’s take a look at what’s on the calendar this week and what will drive investors’ appetite.
The UK’s National Health Service is set to roll out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after the country became the first western nation to approve the treatment. The UK has secured 40 million vaccines in its first distribution endeavor across the UK. This will provide vaccination for almost 20 million people since the remedy requires a two-shot administration. 4 million doses are expected to arrive before the end of the year. The first batches of Covid vaccine have arrived in UK hospitals on Monday as staff prepares itself for administration. The vaccination process will be the largest and most complex vaccination campaign in the country’s history, according to the NHS national medical director, Stephen Powis.
The list prioritizes elderly individuals residing in care homes, followed by health and social care workers. The list goes on to include categories by descending order of age. Dr. Stephen Powis warned that the immunization does not mean people should relax and disregard social distancing and anti-covid measures. The UK recorded 17,272 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, an increase from 15,539 a day earlier.
Is a Brexit breakthrough possible? Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier denied earlier that a compromise on fishing rights is near, while British media reported that Boris Johnson is ready to walk away if the EU doesn’t give up its “outrageous” demands.
The European Central Bank is scheduled to meet on Thursday for its regular monetary policy statement and interest rate decision followed by a press conference by Christine Lagarde, the ECB President. Also on Thursday, extending through Friday, European leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss ongoing internal challenges and the outlook for 2021, including the approval of the next EU budget and the recovery package, the ratification of the 2030 climate goals, and, of course, Brexit.
Support for Stimulus Bill Probable in the US
Across the Atlantic, the US could approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use as early as Thursday. The US jobs report on Friday showed that 245,000 jobs were added in November, much lower than the consensus of 440,000 and down from 610,000 in October. The lower figure comes amid a new push in Congress for the approval of a stimulus bill. In this light, President Trump and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell are likely to support a $908B stimulus package, according to senator Bill Cassidy. Friday’s data also showed a slight drop in the unemployment rate from 6.9% to 6.7%.
Currently, the markets are trading to the downside as the risk-off mood appears to have settled in. The German DAX is showing a loss of about 0.30%, while the French CAC40 is down by roughly 0.80%. The FTSE100 is trading into positive territory, up by 0.30%.
US futures indicate a decline at the opening, following a positive Friday trading session which saw DJIA, S&P500, and the Nasdaq all close in the green, up by 0.83%, 0.88%, and 0.70% respectively.