Stocks were higher to start Tuesday with the Dow gaining 81 points, or 0.3%. The S&P 500 added 0.5%, while the Nasdaq traded 0.7% higher.
Just kidding. The New York Stock Exchange has abruptly reversed its decision to delist three major Chinese telecom stocks after consulting regulators about an investment ban that was recently ordered by President Donald Trump. China Mobile Ltd., China Telecom Corp., and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. are all surging higher this morning following the news that came just days before the companies were to be delisted. The NYSE gave no reason for its decision in a statement released overnight, saying only that it has consulted “relevant regulatory authorities” about Trump’s executive order that was signed back in November as part of his administration’s effort to check China’s growing economic power. Jefferies described the NYSE’s about-face as “bizarre.”
The fate of your $2,000 stimulus check could be decided today with the outcome of Georgia’s Senate runoff elections. What’s more, the outcome will also shape Joe Biden’s presidency even before it officially begins on January 20 as today’s race will determine which party holds the majority in the Senate. “I don’t think it’s possible to overstate it,” said Casey Dominguez, a political scientist at the University of San Diego. “Who gets the majority leader’s office in the Senate is incredibly important.” Without Democrats winning the two Senate seats up for grabs, Biden will become the first president to begin his presidency under a divided government since George H.W. Bush in 1989.
The U.S. FDA rejected the idea that vaccine administration could be sped up by delivering smaller doses to adults under age 55. “Suggesting changes to the FDA-authorized dosing or schedules of these vaccines is premature and not rooted solidly in the available evidence,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn. The FDA added that it has been watching reports about lowering the number of doses, extending the length of time between doses, cutting doses in half, or mixing and matching vaccines in order to immunize more people. “Without appropriate data supporting such changes in vaccine administration, we run a significant risk of placing public health at risk,” the FDA said in a statement.
Bitcoin is back up nearly 4% this morning after JPMorgan said in a note that it could see the digital coin rising as high as $146,000 as it competes with gold as an “alternative” currency. “A crowding out of gold as an ‘alternative’ currency implies big upside for bitcoin over the long term,” the JPMorgan strategists wrote, adding, however, that “a convergence in volatilities between bitcoin and gold is unlikely to happen quickly and is in our mind a multiyear process. This implies that the above-$146,000 theoretical bitcoin price target should be considered as a long-term target, and thus an unsustainable price target for this year.”
And Gary Cohn is joining IBM’s board as its vice chairman. The former Goldman Sachs president and economic advisor to President Donald Trump said in a tweet that he was “honored” to be joining the company’s board, while CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Cohn joining the board is “an exciting move for IBM. Gary can be a change agent.” IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said Cohn will work with the company on “a wide range of business initiatives and external engagement, in areas including business development, client services, public advocacy and client relationship management.” Elsewhere, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf is retiring and will be replaced by current president Cristiano Amon effective June 30, the company announced today.
Stocks We’re Watching
Ocuphire Pharma Inc (NASDAQ: OCUP): Ocuphire Pharma shares are up nearly 3% this morning after the biopharma company announced the initiation of patient recruitment and screening in late December for its LYNX-1 Phase 3 study evaluating the safety and efficacy of its Nyxol treatment in night vision disturbances (NVD). “For this unmet market opportunity, Nyxol is currently the only product candidate we are aware of in development for NVD and, if approved, could become the first pharmacological daily treatment option,” said Mina Sooch, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ocuphire. “The LYNX-1 NVD Phase 3 study builds on the results of multiple Phase 2 trials, which include a Nyxol treatment response versus placebo that demonstrated a clinically significant improvement in low contrast visual acuity in mesopic conditions on a vision chart.” Sooch added, “We are also delighted to have met our goals to begin both of our Nyxol Phase 3 programs in NVD and reversal of mydriasis in the fourth quarter of 2020.”