5 issues you need to know earlier than the inventory market opens on December 17th, 2020

Here are the top news, trends, and analysis investors need to get their trading day started:

1. The S&P 500 is said to open above its record closing level

Even if the Nasdaq’s 40% surge was as strong in 2020, it is nowhere near as high as Bitcoin’s 370% surge this year, which hit a new all-time high above $ 23,600 early Thursday. Behind the gains are crypto bulls, pointing to increased demand from institutional investors, viewing Bitcoin like gold as a hedge against inflation during unprecedented U.S. spending to boost the pandemic-hit economy.

2. Unemployment claims are expected to decrease but remain elevated

A man wearing a preventive face mask walks past the New York Department of Labor in Flushing, Borough of Queens, New York.

John Nacion | LightRocket | Getty Images

The government is expected to report another week of initial jobless claims over 800,000 at 8:30 a.m. ET. In the week ending December 5, initial jobless claims were much higher than expected at 853,000, the highest weekly figure since September 19. This reflects recent labor market struggles as coronavirus cases continue to rise and local and state governments re-introduce Covid mitigation measures.

Despite these worrying pandemic trends, the Federal Reserve has slightly raised its economic expectations for the year-end and next year. This emerges from the central bank’s summary of economic forecasts released on Wednesday afternoon after its last two-day meeting in 2020. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says share prices are not necessarily high given the low interest rates.

3. The elusive new stimulus package appears closer

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sit side by side during a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony for Steve Gleason in the U.S. Capitol in Washington on January 15, 2020 .

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

Capitol Hill negotiators are close to reaching agreement on a $ 900 billion coronavirus aid package, the U.S. company additional aid, a $ 300 per week increase in unemployment benefits, and stimulus checks for those is said to offer most Americans $ 600. A deal of the first major legislative response to the pandemic since the landmark CARES bill of $ 2.2 trillion in March has been elusive for months. “We’re still close and will get there,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Told reporters Wednesday night. The legislature hopes to combine the aid from Covid with a massive government financing measure. The federal authorities are facing a partial shutdown this weekend as there is no total expenditure calculation or some other stop-gap measure.

4. The FDA panel will vote on Moderna’s vaccine

Vials and a medical syringe are displayed in front of the logos of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and biotech company Moderna. The FDA finds the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pavlo Gonchar | LightRocket | Getty Images

Exactly one week after Pfizer’s emergency application of Covid vaccine was recommended, a key FDA advisory panel is expected to meet on the same Thursday after its meeting on Moderna’s vaccine. While the FDA doesn’t have to follow the panel’s recommendation, it does so frequently, as it did last Friday when it approved the Pfizer BioNTech emergency vaccine. Perhaps another weapon in the fight against the coronavirus could help slow the number of exploding cases. There were more than 247,400 new cases in the US on Wednesday, the worst day of the pandemic, and a record 3,656 deaths. In total, America approached 17 million cases and exceeded 307,500 deaths on Thursday morning.

5. French President tests positive for Covid

French President Emmanuel Macron, wearing a protective face mask, watches as he makes a statement alongside Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas after his meeting at the Elysee Palace on October 28, 2020 in Paris, France.

Chesnot | Getty Images News | Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron is the youngest world leader to test positive for Covid. The diagnosis was made “as soon as the first symptoms appeared,” Macron’s office said Thursday. Macron, who turns 43 next week, will continue to work remotely, the statement added. Other leaders who got the coronavirus, including U.S. President Donald Trump, Briton Boris Johnson, and Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro, all recovered.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden (L) and United States Vice President Mike Pence (R) greet each other during a memorial service on September 11, 2020 at the National Memorial and Museum on September 11, 2020 in New York City.

Amr Alfiky | Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence, head of the White House’s coronavirus task force, will be publicly given a vaccine Friday, while President-elect Joe Biden is slated to get a chance next week. It is unclear when Trump will be vaccinated. Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton all volunteered to go in front of cameras to get vaccination shots to build public confidence.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow all developments on Wall Street in real time with CNBC Pro’s live market blog. Find out about the latest pandemics on our coronavirus blog.

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