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James Hyerczyk
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US Stock Market

The major U.S. stock indexes finished mixed but mostly lower as investors assessed the prospects for a fiscal spending package and the likelihood for further virus-related economic restrictions.

The benchmark S&P 500 Index fell for a fourth day, capping its longest price slide since September and is 1.5% below its December 8 record. The blue chip Dow closed lower after hitting a record high, weighed down by a big loss in shares of Disney.

The NASDAQ-100 Index bucked the trend, led by strong gains in the drugmaker sub-sector. The move was fueled by the news that Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. agreed to be bought by AstraZeneca Plc.

In the cash market on Monday, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 3647.49, down 15.97 or -0.47%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 29861.55, down 184.82 or -0.67% and the tech-weighted NASDAQ Composite closed at 12440.04, up 62.17 or +0.56%.

Vaccine Reaction

Administration of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech began on Monday following emergency-use approval from federal regulators last week.

“While the entire market is pleased, is optimistic, is bullish about the arrival of the vaccine this morning into the U.S., I think the average investor is realizing that this roll-out, this distribution of the vaccine is not going to be a silver bullet, is not going to go as fast as one hopes,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Other News Worth Watching

Investors were also eyeing the outlook for additional coronavirus relief after the Senate last week approved a one-week extension of federal funding to void a government shutdown and allow more time for negotiations.

Investors were also focused on early voting in a pair of U.S. Senate races in Georgia that will determine control of the chamber and heavily influence lawmaking.

Stock-Related News

E-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd dipped after China warned its internet majors of more anti-trust scrutiny, imposed fines and announced probes into deals involving Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Electric-car maker Tesla Inc rallied as anticipation of its addition to the S&P 500 benchmark next week offset a report of production delays.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc was among the top boosts to the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ, surging to a 4-1/2 year high after British drugmaker AstraZeneca said it would buy the U.S. biotech firm. AstraZeneca’s U.S.-listed shares dropped.

Walt Disney shares fell 3.65% after BMO Capital Markets downgraded the stock following its recent gains and said Netflix was again its “top pick.” Netflix climbed almost 4%.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.
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