Dow Slips as Wall Street Awaits Details on Coronavirus Relief Bill

Stocks fluctuated Monday as investors awaited details of a coronavirus relief package from Congress and weighed reports that Brexit trade talks could collapse.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 167 points, or 0.55%, to 30,050, the S&P 500 fell 0.22% and the Nasdaq rose 0.35%.

Also denting sentiment was an increase in coronavirus infection levels in the U.S. and a report that said Washington could impose sanctions on Chinese officials for their alleged role in Beijing’s disqualification of elected opposition legislators in Hong Kong. 

The move from the State Department will target officials from the Chinese Communist Party and could come as soon as Monday, according to Reuters.

TheStreet’s Best Stocks of the Year: Ranked 25-21

Asian markets finished mostly lower Monday, while European stocks fell after the U.K. and the European Union failed to reach a trade agreement over the weekend. Reports said 11th-hour Brexit talks had stalled and a make-or-break call between U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was planned for later Monday. 

On Wall Street, stocks closed at record highs Friday after a considerable slowdown in a U.S. labor market recovery boosted the chances of more economic stimulus from Congress.

Lawmakers could publish details of their compromise relief bill Monday, although the $908 billion package must pass both the House and Senate before a Dec. 11 deadline for the funding of federal agencies.

A U.S. jobs report for November that showed a net jobs gain of only 245,000 – the weakest since May – as well as the ongoing rise of coronavirus infections, stay-at-home orders and hospitalizations have underscored the need for fresh stimulus heading into the start of 2021. 

Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would come “on board” with the $908 billion pandemic relief package. The plan, however, won’t include $1,200 in direct payments to most Americans.

The number of confirmed global deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, rose to almost 1.54 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed cases of the virus across the world have risen to 67,189,474.

The U.S. death toll is 282,345, the most in the world. The number of infected people in the U.S. was 14,761,730.

The United Kingdom will roll out the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer  (PFE) – Get Report and BioNTech  (BNTX) – Get Report on Tuesday, becoming the first country to do so. The Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. could approve the vaccine as early as Thursday.

Covid Outbreak Now ‘Worst Event That This Country Will Face’