Markets seen opening solidly higher as House passes Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill


U.S. stock futures signal strong gains

Wall Street looks poised to start the news month sharply higher after the House of Representatives passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief measure early Saturday.

By 5:35 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow surged 322 points, or 1.04% to 31,234. Those for the S&P 500 gained 44.37 points, or 1.16% to 3,853.62 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 rallied 207.75 points, or 1.61% to 13,118.75.

Biden’s measure passed early Saturday largely along partisan lines, with two Democrats joining all Republicans in the 219-212 vote.

The bill includes $1,400 in direct payments for individuals earning under $75,000 annually, a $400 weekly supplemental jobless bonus, funds for vaccine distribution, and aid to schools, local and state governments.

Now the measure goes to the Senate, where it may be stripped off the $15 per hour minimum wage provision because of complicated Senate voting rules.

J&J’s single-shot Covid-19 vaccine approved

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)’s coronavirus vaccine has been okayed for emergency use by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The vaccine, which is designed to be given as a single dose, was approved over the weekend. According to the FDA, the clearance allow the vaccine to be distributed in the U.S. for use in individuals 18 years of age and older.

J&J said it plans to ship 100 million doses of the vaccine to the U.S. during the first half of this year. It is the third vaccine to be authorized in the country, following ones from Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE)-BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX), both of which require two doses.

J&J stock was indicated 3.49% higher to $163.99 a share in the pre-market trading session Monday.

Zoom, Nio, Lemonade report earnings today

On the earnings front, Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ: ZM), Nio (NYSE: NIO), and newly listed Lemonade (NYSE: LMND) will announce their earnings after the closing today.

Zoom is projected to report earnings of 79 cents per share on revenue of $811.77 million, while Nio is forecast to post a loss of 9 cents per share on revenue of $993.96 million.

Analysts expect Lemonade (NYSE: LMND) to announce a quarterly loss of 64 cents per share on revenue of $19.12 million.