Here's the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Dow set for higher open as Pfizer's vaccine rolls out
- Vaccine doses being shipped across the U.S.
- Electors to formally pick Biden as president
- White House acknowledges reports of cyberattack
- Google's YouTube, Gmail and Drive suffer outage
1. Dow set for higher open as Pfizer's vaccine rolls out
Dow futures pointed to a more than 200-point gain at Monday's open as the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech begins to roll out on emergency use basis. Monday's first vaccinations in the U.S. come as cumulative coronavirus deaths in America near 300,000 with the seven-day average of fatalities running at more than 2,400.
In a fresh effort to reach a deal on new Covid-19 economic stimulus, a $908 billion bipartisan proposal is expected to be split in two, according to a Reuters report. The first measure would be a $748 billion package, including money for small businesses, a federal unemployment benefits boost and vaccine distribution. The second measure would include some of the key sticking points such as liability protections for businesses and $160 billion for state and local governments. The packages, according to Reuters, could be released as early as Monday.
Uncertainty over stimulus kept a lid on stocks last week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all breaking multiweek winning streaks. President Donald Trump signed a one-week government funding extension Friday to avoid a partial federal shutdown and to buy more time for stimulus talks.
2. Vaccine doses being shipped across the U.S.
The first of many freezer-packed vials of Pfizer's vaccine are being shipped across the U.S., after the FDA on Friday granted emergency use authorization, trigging government plans to distribute 2.9 million doses within 24 hours, followed by an additional 2.9 million doses 21 days later for patients to get their second shot. A key CDC panel voted unanimously Saturday to recommend the vaccine for people 16 years and older and the agency's director quickly signed it. Pfizer plans to ship 50 million doses this year.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said Sunday that the agency will publish its data on Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine this week ahead Thursday's advisory panel meeting to vote on whether to recommend it for emergency use. "I'm not going to prejudge that discussion or our assessment of the data," Hahn said during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union." "My sincere hope is that we move forward and we do so expeditiously." Moderna said it's on track to produce 20 million doses by the end of the year.
3. Electors to formally pick Biden as president
Presidential electors are set to meet Monday to formally choose Joe Biden as the nation's next president. The results will be tallied in a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, with Vice President Mike Pence presiding. There's no reason to expect any defections this year. The electors' votes have drawn more attention than usual in 2020 because Trump has refused to concede the election and has continued to make baseless allegations of fraud. Biden is planning to address the nation Monday night, after the electors have voted.
4. White House acknowledges reports of cyberattack
The Trump administration acknowledged reports that a group backed by a foreign government carried out a cyberattack on the Treasury Department and a section of the Commerce Department. The Washington Post linked the hack, which occurred over the weekend, to a group working for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. The latest revelation comes less than a month after Trump fired Christopher Krebs, the nation's top cybersecurity official, accusing him of making "highly inaccurate" statements about the security of the 2020 presidential election. Russia has denied the allegations.
5. Google's YouTube, Gmail and Drive suffer outage
Alphabet's Google appears to be suffering a worldwide outage that has taken several services including YouTube, Gmail and Google Drive offline. Several people on social media reported issues with the platforms, with Gmail, YouTube and Google Drive all showing error messages earlier Monday. "Service has already been restored for some users, and we expect a resolution for all users in the near future," Google said in a statement. "Please note this time frame is an estimate and may change."
— Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real time with CNBC Pro's live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.