BY THE NUMBERS
The Dow was set to open higher Tuesday, one day after stocks gave up gains and closed lower. Fears of new Covid-19 mitigation measures ended up offsetting optimism around the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rollout. Despite dropping 184 points Monday, the Dow was still less than 1.2% from its Dec. 4 record high close. (CNBC)
The dragging talks on new Covid economic stimulus didn't help inspire Wall Street on Monday as a group of bipartisan lawmakers split their $908 billion rescue package into two bills in hopes of getting something through the GOP-controlled Senate and Democratic-held House before the end of the year. (CNBC)
* 'It's an economic war:' Warren Buffett urges Congress to extend relief for small businesses (CNBC)
The Federal Reserve, which has been prodding Capitol Hill and the White House to agree on more relief, begins its final two-day policy meeting of 2020 on Tuesday. Interest rates near zero are not expected to be changed Wednesday afternoon, but expanded bond buying could be on the table. (CNBC)
Prevail Therapeutics (PRVL) shares soared more than 80% in the premarket after Eli Lilly (LLY) announced a deal to buy the gene therapy developer for $880 million or $22.50 per share. Prevail shareholders also received a "contingent value right" worth up to $4 per share subject to future regulatory approvals of drugs from Prevail. (Reuters)
IN THE NEWS TODAY
Shipments of Pfizer's Covid vaccine are set to arrive Tuesday at 400 additional hospitals and other distribution sites across the nation. While the first U.S. health-care workers received shots on emergency use authorization Monday, it will be several months before the average person can receive the vaccine. (AP)
The FDA published its analysis of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine, saying it meets expectations for emergency use. The agency's vaccine advisory panel meets Thursday on whether to recommend clearance. Upon authorization, government officials plan to ship nearly 6 million Moderna shots in addition to the initial 2.9 million Pfizer doses already being deployed. (CNBC)
* Moderna vaccine documents accessed in European Medicines Agency cyberattack (Reuters)
One week after the U.K. became the first nation to give Pfizer vaccine shots on emergency clearance, the government identified a new coronavirus variant that may be linked with the faster spread of cases in southern parts of that country. On Wednesday, London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire are set to enter England's toughest tier of Covid restrictions. (CNBC)
In New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday, "If we do not change the trajectory, we could very well be headed to shut down ... go back to where we were, all nonessential businesses close they go to zero." Democratic New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio also warned that another full lockdown may be needed to slow hospitalizations. (WNEY News)
President-elect Joe Biden called for unity and healing in a deeply divided nation Monday night, hours after electors across the country certified his Electoral College victory over President Donald Trump. He also slammed Trump for unfounded claims of voter fraud, saying the Supreme Court "sent a clear signal to President Trump that they would be no part of an unprecedented assault on democracy." (CNBC)
More Republicans recognized Biden as the next president. Even Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Biden. "For my part, I am ready for interaction and contacts with you," Putin said in the statement Tuesday. (AP & CNBC)
* Michigan congressman quits GOP over party's refusal to accept Trump loss (CNBC)
Attorney General William Barr will as head of the Justice Department depart before Christmas. The widely anticipated announcement came just moments after Biden's victorywas formalized. The shake-up, in the twilight of Trump's tenure in the White House, also followed weeks of public clashes between Barr and the president. In tweets, Trump implied he bore no ill will toward Barr despite recent criticisms. (CNBC)
* Romney on Barr: 'Not surprised that he could no longer associate himself with the process' (CNBC)
California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra is seeking to force Amazon (AMZN) to cooperate with a monthslong investigation into the company's treatment of warehouse workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Becerra has been picked by Biden as secretary of the Health & Human Services Department. (CNBC)
* Costco doubling down on brick-and-mortar even as it invests in e-commerce (CNBC)
The FTC is requiring nine tech companies to share information about how they collect and use data from their users. Amazon, TikTok owner ByteDance, Discord, Facebook (FB) and its WhatsApp unit, Reddit, Snap (SNAP), Twitter (TWTR) and Google-owned YouTube were each sent orders. (CNBC)
Pinterest (PINS) will pay $22.5 million to settle gender bias and retaliation claims brought against the image-sharing company by former Chief Operating Officer Francoise Brougher. Pinterest did not admit any liability in agreeing to the settlement. (NY Times)
Apple (APPL) plans to ramp up iPhone production to 96 million for the first half of 2021, according to the Nikkei Asia news service, citing a sales forecast that Apple shared with suppliers. That would be an increase of nearly 30 percent over the same period in 2020. (Reuters)
Boeing (BA) has expanded inspections of newly produced 787 Dreamliners after finding a previously disclosed manufacturing defect in sections of the jet where it hadn't been initially detected, according to industry and government officials. (WSJ)
STOCKS TO WATCH
Bristol-Myers (BMY): Goldman Sachs added the drugmaker's stock to its "Conviction List," on expectations of a number of Food and Drug Administration approvals as well as pipeline data that should drive up earnings estimates.
WPP (WPP): WPP will restate its financial results from 2017 to 2019, but the world's biggest advertising firm said headline operating profit and cash flow would not be impacted. WPP said its method of presenting certain cash measures and hedges did not meet normal accounting standards for those years.
Baidu (BIDU): Baidu is considering making its own electric vehicles, according to people with knowledge of the matter who spoke to Reuters. The Chinese search engine giant already operates a unit that develops autonomous driving and internet connectivity technology.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN): Regeneron is temporarily halting enrollment in a clinical trial for an experimental lymphoma treatment. That comes after the FDA requested changes in trial protocols.
Ameriprise Financial (AMP): Ameriprise is among the bidders considering second-round bids for the asset management arm of Wells Fargo (WFC), according to a Bloomberg report. Private-equity firms GTCR and Reverence Capital Partners are also said to be among bidders still in the running.
Chewy (CHWY): Chewy Chief Financial Officer Mario Marte told The Wall Street Journal that the pet products seller plans to increase the company's product offerings, and is also seeking ways to monetize its new, free telehealth service for pets.
Equifax (EFX): The credit reporting agency was upgraded to "overweight" from "neutral" at Atlantic Equities, which cited upbeat current quarter trends. Atlantic also increased its price target on the stock to $228 per share from $172 a share.
Planet Fitness (PLNT): The fitness chain's stock is the subject of a negative mention in The Wall Street Journal's Heard On The Street column, which said the pandemic has seriously dented the company's business prospects. That view is not universal – earlier this week, BMO Capital repeated a "buy" rating.