Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow set to surge after best month since 1987

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BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures pointed to a strong gain at Tuesday's open, setting up Wall Street to start December with a strong rally. While stumbling 271 points on Monday, the 30-stock average closed out November with a nearly 12% advance for its best month in more than 33 years. Promising Covid-19 vaccine developments released over the past four Mondays boosted market confidence that life and pandemic-stricken economies in the U.S. and around the world may soon start to return to some semblance of normal. (CNBC)

Bitcoin rose to another record just below $20,000 on Tuesday morning before pulling back, according to the Coin Metrics price that's consolidated from various cryptocurrency exchanges. Bitcoin topped $19,000 last Wednesday for the first time since 2017's all-time highs. Bitcoin, up more than 175% in 2020, nearly doubled since early September alone. (CNBC)

* BTIG says cryptocurrency 'comes of age,' puts $50,000 target on bitcoin for 2021 (CNBC Pro)

Tesla (TSLA) will be added to the S&P 500 before the open on Dec. 21 in a single step, forgoing a possible phased approach that was considered to ease the impact of adding such a large company to the U.S. stock benchmark. The company that Tesla will replace will be named on Dec. 11. Shares of Tesla, up over 575% this year, added another 5% in premarket trading. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will emphasize the importance of lending programs deployed by the central bank during the pandemic, according testimony he's set to deliver to the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday morning. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who will join Powell, has said that the legislation that enabled the programs does not permit them to run past Dec. 31. (CNBC)

* Weekly jobless claims counts are inaccurate and unemployed are being underpaid, watchdog says (CNBC)

More than 30 Democratic senators are pushing for an extension of special pandemic unemployment benefits that cover 12 million workers and expire the day after Christmas. The move comes as roughly a dozen senators from both sides of the aisle try to break the stalemate ahead of the deadline to fund the federal government.

A CDC advisory panel meets Tuesday to vote on how scarce initial supplies of Covid vaccine will be given out upon FDA approval. Health workers and people age 65 and older are expected to be among the initial recipients. U.S. drugmakers Pfizer (PFE) and Moderna (MRNA) have sought FDA emergency authorization for their vaccines. (AP)

* FDA chief called to West Wing to explain vaccine approval process (Axios)
* Masks, plexiglass food stations: What Melania Trump is planning for holiday parties (USA Today)
* Biden Covid official on resignation of controversial Trump advisor Dr. Atlas: ‘I am relieved’ because he wasn’t qualified (CNBC)
* Zuckerberg says Facebook will show ‘authoritative’ info about Covid-19 vaccines (CNBC)

Less than two weeks after applying for FDA clearance in the U.S., Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech (BNTX) said Tuesday they have applied to the European Medicines Agency for the conditional marketing authorization of their coronavirus vaccine. (CNBC)

* First ‘mass air shipment’ of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine arrives as airlines prepare for more (CNBC)

The Nasdaq is asking the SEC this morning for permission to adopt a new requirement for the 3,249 companies listed on its main U.S. stock exchange: Have at least one woman and one "diverse" director and report data on board diversity, or face consequences. (NY Times)

Airbnb plans to price at $44 to $50 per share in its IPO, giving it a valuation of up to $35 billion on a fully diluted basis, according to a new filing the company submitted to the SEC Tuesday. The company seeks to raise about $2.5 billion in the IPO. Existing investors seek to sell $96 million worth of stock in the IPO. (CNBC)

* GitLab is being valued at more than $6 billion in secondary share sale (CNBC)

Amazon's (AMZN) cloud division on Tuesday announced the availability of new virtual computing instances for software developers that run Apple's (AAPL) MacOS operating system, representing an alternative to Microsoft Windows and open-source Linux. (CNBC)

* Amazon says this year’s holiday shopping period has been the biggest in its history (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Zoom Video Communications shares were under pressure even as the company late Monday reported fiscal third-quarter earnings and quarterly guidance that exceeded analyst expectations. Investors seemed disappointed that the rate of revenue growth, which has accelerated this year, could moderate. Shares of Zoom, up more than 600% in 2020, fell 6% in Tuesday's premarket.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) shares rose 2% in premarket trading after the energy giant announced a more streamlined capital spending plan. The company also said it was going to write off up to $20 billion of assets.

U.S.-listed shares of Nio (NIO) gained 2% in premarket trading after the Chinese electric vehicle maker announced that it delivered 5,291 vehicles in November, a monthly record for the company and up 109% year-over-year. Goldman Sachs (GS) also upgraded the stock to "neutral" from "sell."

Nikola (NKLA) continued its slide after Monday's announcement of a scaled-back deal with General Motors (GM). Shares of the start-up were down more than 5% in Tuesday's premarket, one day after tanking nearly 27%. RBC Capital Markets, which has a sector perform rating on the stock, dropped its price target to $17 per share from $19.