Wall Street begins the new trading year at record highs on optimism over coronavirus vaccines; Tesla just misses 2020 deliveries goal; U.K. gaming company Entain rejects a bid of $11.1 billion from MGM Resorts; bitcoin crosses $34,000.
Here are five things you must know for Monday, Jan. 4:
1. — Stock Futures Rise as Wall Street Begins New Trading Year
Stock futures pointed to a higher open Monday as Wall Street begins the new trading year at record highs on optimism over coronavirus vaccines.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 152 points, S&P 500 futures were up 17 points and Nasdaq futures rose 53 points.
Stocks closed higher Thursday, the last trading session of 2020, with the Dow and S&P 500 setting new records as a volatile year, brutally disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, ended.
The Dow ended New Year’s Eve at 30,606, a record closing high, and the S&P 500 finished at 3,756.
The blue-chip Dow rose 7.3% in 2020, the S&P 500 gained 16.3% – at its pandemic low in March the index had been down more than 30% – and the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 43.6%, its best annual performance since 2009.
Traders are “perhaps a bit over-eager” but believe vaccines will “provide the ultimate economic kick-start, offering a massive booster shot to corporate profits,” said Stephen Innes of Axi. U.S. deaths from the coronavirus rose to more than 351,500.
Oil prices rose early Monday as OPEC and its allies were scheduled to meet to consider whether to increase production. West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, was up 1.32% to $49.16 a barrel.
2. — Tesla Comes Oh So Close to 2020 Delivery Goal
Tesla (TSLA) – Get Report was rising more than 2% in premarket trading Monday after the electric vehicle company announced over the weekend that it met its 2020 goal of producing at least half a million cars but narrowly missed its aggressive delivery target following a record year fueled by China demand for its Model 3 sedan.
Tesla delivered 180,570 of its Model S/X and Model 3/Y sedans over the three months ended in December, a 61.2% increase from the same period last year, bringing its year-end total to 499,550 and coming in just below the company’s goal of 500,000. Tesla’s year-end production total was 509,737 vehicles after a 71.4% increase in the fourth quarter to a record 179,757.
Tesla said it delivered 442,511 Model 3/Ys in 2020, alongside 57,039 for its Model S/X sedan. Production figures for each were 454,932 and 54,805 units, respectively.
“In a nutshell, Tesla had a high bar to hit for 4Q and impressively exceeded the Street coming within its 500k delivery target for the year, an eye-popping performance to finish the year,” said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. “The EV industry has massive tailwinds into 2021 which will benefit vendors across the board, with Tesla in prime position to further catapult itself in the EV landscape with China front and center.”
Tesla shares gained 2.14% to $720.77 in premarket trading.
3. — Entain Rejects $11 Billion Bid From MGM Resorts
MGM’s bid of 1,383 pence a share was a 22% premium to closing price of Entain’s stock on Thursday. Shares of Entain, the owner of brands including Ladbrokes, jumped more than 28% in London. MGM shares were up slightly in premarket trading Monday.
Entain has told its shareholders to take no action with respect to MGM’s offer and has asked the Las Vegas Strip’s largest casino operator for “additional information in respect of the strategic rationale for a combination of the two companies.”
Entain, which trades on the London Stock Exchange, bills itself as one of the globe’s biggest retail online sports betting and gambling groups. It offers sports betting and casino, poker and bingo online games, and operates brands such as Ladbrokes, Coral, BetMGM, bwin, Sportingbet, Eurobet, partypoker, partycasino, Gala and Foxy Bingo.
4. — Bitcoin Tops $34,000
Bitcoin topped $34,000 on Sunday, after hitting $30,000 for the first time in its history the day before.
Bitcoin crossed $20,000 for the first time on Dec. 16.
“Bitcoin’s rise isn’t surprising in the least – it’s been a buildup of credibility and sustainability, with strong network effects,” said Dave Balter, the CEO of Flipside Crypto, in an email to TheStreet.
The world of institutional finance “has finally taken notice” of crypto, added Balter, whose firm posts regular columns on TheStreet.
“No one wants to be last to the dance,” he added.
The world’s largest cryptocurrency was turning lower Monday, falling as much as 17%. At last check, bitcoin traded at $30,173, according to a composite of prices compiled by Bloomberg.
When asked if the surge in bitcoin could lead to the increase in value of other crypto projects such as ethereum and litecoin – which were both up on Sunday – Balter said it was likely that this rising tide could lift all boats.
“Bitcoin does tend to create a ‘wake’ for other crypto assets to follow, so my strong belief is you’ll see rise in prices from a number of quality projects,” Balter said.
5. — This Week’s Economic Calendar
The U.S. economic calendar Monday includes Markit manufacturing PMI for December at 9:45 a.m. ET and Construction Spending for November at 10 a.m.
Economic reports later this week include the ISM Manufacturing Index, the ADP National Employment Report, weekly Jobless Claims and the official U.S. Nonfarm Payrolls report for December.
Earnings will be released this week from Micron Technology (MU) – Get Report, Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) – Get Report, Constellation Brands (STZ) – Get Report and Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) – Get Report.