Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Tech stocks set to pop after Friday's Nasdaq record close
- Biden to impose travel restrictions on South Africa, UK and Brazil
- White House holds firm in talks over Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus
- Dr. Birx says someone was giving Trump ‘parallel data’ on coronavirus
- House Democrats to deliver Trump impeachment charge to Senate
1. Tech stocks set to pop after Friday's Nasdaq record close
Heading into the busiest week of earnings season, U.S. stocks were tracking for a mixed open Monday. Nasdaq futures were stronger after the tech-heavy index stood out in a largely lower market Friday to close at another record high. Dow futures Monday were lower by more than 100 points. Last week, the Nasdaq surged more than 4%; the S&P 500 gained nearly 2%; and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 0.5%. Despite Friday's losses, the Dow and S&P remained less than 1% away from Thursday's record high close.
GameStop shares — already up 245% in 2021 — surged another 50% in Monday's premarket trading. The stock initially jumped earlier this month after the video-game seller said Chewy co-founder Ryan Cohen was joining its board. The announcement triggered a so-called short squeeze, with hedge funds and other investors rushing to cover their bets against the stock.
Dow stock Merck fell nearly 1% in premarket trading after the U.S. drug giant announced Monday that it's discontinuing its Covid vaccine program. Merck said its two vaccine candidates generated immune responses that were inferior to those seen for other vaccines. The company said it will now focus its pandemic research on treatments, with initial efficacy data on an experimental oral antiviral expected by the end of March.
2. Biden to impose travel restrictions on South Africa, UK and Brazil
President Joe Biden will sign a travel ban Monday on most noncitizens entering the country who were recently in South Africa, where a new strain of Covid has been identified, a person familiar with the situation told CNBC. Biden will also reinstate travel restrictions on the entry of noncitizens from the U.K. and Brazil, where new strains also emerged. Former President Donald Trump had rescinded the travel curbs just before he left office.
3. White House holds firm in talks over Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus
Top Biden aides spoke with a group of moderate Senate Republicans and Democrats on Sunday about the president's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal. Conservatives are questioning whether more stimulus is needed on top of December's $900 billion package, while progressives are urging Biden to stand his ground. The White House during Sunday's call did not seem to budge on breaking up the plan or reducing the overall price tag even as it pushes for bipartisan support. The new president has been taking a number of steps to fight Covid on the health and economic fronts as 3,088 people are dying per day, according the latest daily seven-day average.
4. Dr. Birx says someone was giving Trump ‘parallel data’ on coronavirus
Dr. Deborah Birx, the Trump White House Covid response coordinator, said in a CBS News interview released Sunday that the former president had been reviewing "parallel" data sets on the pandemic from someone inside the administration. "I saw the president presenting graphs that I never made," Birx told "Face the Nation." Birx, who announced her retirement as Biden took office last week, said she doesn't know the identity of the person who gave Trump different information. Though she did say there were Covid deniers within the Trump administration.
5. House Democrats to deliver Trump impeachment charge to Senate
House Democrats on Monday evening will carry the sole impeachment charge against Trump of "incitement of insurrection" across the Capitol, passing the baton to the Senate for a trial scheduled to start in two weeks. Leaders in both parties agreed to the short delay to give Trump's team and House prosecutors time to prepare. Unlike Trump's first impeachment trial, which resulted in a Senate acquittal, more Republicans are indicating their support for conviction this time and a separate vote to bar Trump from holding office again.
— 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.