Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
U.S. stock futures rose Friday, but they cut some of those gains after the government's weaker-than-expected December jobs report. On Thursday, the Nasdaq closed at a record high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 also closed at records. Both benchmarks were tracking for weekly gains despite Monday's sharp drops, the first negative starts to a new year since 2016. The Nasdaq was also solidly higher for the week as Wall Street powered higher over the past two days despite Wednesday's deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol and its fallout.
Bitcoin, which topped $40,000 on Thursday for the first time ever, passed $41,000 on Friday. The world's largest cryptocurrency has been up more than 30% in the first days of 2021 and 400% over the past 12 months. The value of the entire crypto market, which is made up of bitcoin and other digital coins, topped $1 trillion Thursday for the first time.
Tesla shares marched higher in Friday's premarket after rising 10 sessions in a row, surpassing Facebook in market value, and making CEO Elon Musk the world's richest person. Thursday's increase in Tesla's share price pushed Musk past Amazon's Jeff Bezos, who had been the richest person since 2017.
Job creation came to a halt in December as Covid-19 restrictions brought on by surging cases hammered virus-sensitive industries. The Labor Department reported Friday that nonfarm payrolls fell by 140,000 — the first monthly decline since April. That compared to expectations for a 50,000-position increase. The nation's unemployment rate last month was unchanged at 6.7%, slightly better than the 6.8% estimate. In December, employment in leisure and hospitality was crushed, with positions declining by 498,000. The 10-year Treasury yield remained above 1% after the disappointing jobs data. Overall jobs growth in November was revised strongly higher to 336,000.
President Donald Trump late Thursday admitted — for the first time in his own words, despite vowing never to concede — that a "new administration will be inaugurated" on Jan. 20. In a nearly three-minute video, posted after his Twitter lockout ended, Trump did not mention President-elect Joe Biden by name. It came a day after the outgoing president sparked the riot that saw a mob breach the U.S. Capitol in protest of the election.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are calling for Trump's removal, accusing him of inciting "insurrection." Schumer said that if Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet do not move to invoke the 25th Amendment, Congress should reconvene to impeach Trump. Pelosi said Congress "may be prepared" to impeach Trump if executive branch officials do not act.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were among the Cabinet secretaries who discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump, three sources told CNBC. They determined the process of elevating Pence to the presidency could take more than a week, diluting its effects.
The U.S. had its first day of over 4,000 deaths from Covid-19. In the single worst day of the pandemic Thursday, 4,085 people died from the virus. The latest coronavirus surge saw record seven-day averages of new daily infections and deaths running at 228,497 and 2,764, respectively. As of Thursday, the number of people hospitalized with Covid fell slightly from Wednesday's record high levels.
A coronavirus vaccine developed by U.S.-based Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech appears to be effective against a key mutation in the more infectious variants of the coronavirus discovered in the U.K. and South Africa. The research by Pfizer has not been peer reviewed. The World Health Organization said last month that health authorities were "urgently investigating" whether the virus mutation affects vaccine performance.
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