Barron’s Weekly Market Updates – September 10, 2021
Friday, September 10, 2021
Dow, S&P 500 Suffer 5-Day Losing Streak as Stocks End Lower. Stocks ended lower Friday, with major indexes booking weekly losses as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 extended a losing streak to five sessions. Investors said uncertainty around the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 hung over markets this week as investors also weighed the timing of the Federal Reserve’s eventual tapering of its monthly bond purchases. The Dow fell around 272 points, or 0.8%, to close at about 34,608, while the S&P 500 shed 35 points, or 0.8%, to finish around 4459. The Nasdaq Composite gave up nearly 133 points, or 0.9%, ending at 15,115. The slide left the Dow down 2.2% for the week, while the S&P 500 suffered a 1.7% fall, and the Nasdaq declined 1.6%.
Employers Are Unlikely to Push Back on Biden’s Vaccine Mandate
President Biden is pushing vaccines harder for a host of businesses. Employers aren’t likely to push back all that hard.
The president will have the Occupational Safety and Health Administration craft a rule requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to have workers vaccinated or undergo, at least, weekly Covid testing. OSHA can fine businesses for failing to comply. Separately, Biden will also use executive orders to require vaccines for government contractors.
“I think if it means more vaccinated people, that’s good,” Tim Fiore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing purchasing managers index, tells Barron’s. The ISM surveys hundreds of manufacturers around the country, and the PMI is a closely watched metric judging the health of the sector.
A Northern California judge ruled that Apple must allow developers who distribute their apps via its store to bypass the company’s payment systems—a move that could alter which companies collect billions of dollars now paid to Apple.
Videogame companies that make mobile games are likely to see a boost to their profit, as they will be allowed now—pending any potential appeal from Apple—to direct users to their own payments systems.
Covid Cases Flattening as Delta Continues to Spread
The nationwide daily average of newly reported cases of Covid-19 in the U.S. is no longer climbing, offering some hope ahead of what could be a challenging period in the course of the pandemic.
While the number of new cases appears to be stabilizing, the shape of the Delta outbreak is shifting on a local and regional level. New cases are dropping sharply in parts of the country that have been hit the hardest by the Delta wave, and rising in others.
ECB Slows Pace of Asset-Buying Amid Signs of Stronger Recovery
The European Central Bank said this week it would slow down the pace of the bond-buying program it launched in March 2020 to counter the coronavirus pandemic’s effects, but confirmed its long-running stance that monetary policy would remain on the dovish side for months to come.
The euro zone central bank said after a meeting of its policy-setting governing council that the monthly purchases of bonds on the market would proceed at a “moderately lower pace” than in the last two quarters.
SEC Warning to Coinbase Could Signal Closer Scrutiny for Crypto Industry
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is warning that it would sue the crypto exchange Coinbase if it goes ahead with a plan to allow users to earn interest by lending crypto assets.
Beyond the blow to the growth plans of the company, the SEC’s move signals a new phase in its enforcement actions. The agency is now questioning whether some of the fastest-growing parts of the crypto industry are legal at all.
Biden Vaccination Plan Could Be a Boon for Covid Test Makers
The plan to control the Covid-19 pandemic that President Biden announced this week could boost sales of take-home Covid-19 tests, which are set to become a more substantial part of the U.S. strategy against the virus.
Biden’s plan will require all employers with more than 100 workers to mandate vaccinations for their employees or require weekly testing.
Weekly U.S. jobless claims dropped more than expected, hitting 310,000 in the week ending Sept. 4, beating forecasts for 350,000. It is was the lowest reading since before the pandemic-driven lockdowns were put in place in early 2020, something that has now occurred for two weeks in a row.
Continuing claims fell to 2.78 million from 2.8 million, another pandemic-era low. The strong data were a welcome sight for investors, as the August jobs report showed a slower addition of jobs in the U.S. than expected, partly because of a shortage of labor.
The U.K. Drug Regulator Approved Booster Shots—the U.S. Is Still Deciding
The U.K. drug regulator on Thursday gave emergency use authorization for two Covid-19 vaccines to be used as booster shots, paving the way for Brits to receive a third dose as health authorities mull data suggesting immunity wanes over time.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration is still determining the suitability of booster shots, and regulatory approval would face a vote from the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Bitcoin Is Now Legal Tender in El Salvador—a World First
In a major milestone for the leading digital asset, Bitcoin is now legal tender in El Salvador. New rules took effect Tuesday allowing consumers to use the cryptocurrency as a form of payment for goods and services.
The Central American country has become the world’s first to put Bitcoin on par with its own currency, which has been the U.S. dollar since 2001.