Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Stocks futures are steady after S&P 500's record close Friday
- Covid deaths in the U.S. near 800,000 as omicron risk watched
- Fed's possible faster taper, inflation top week ahead for investors
- Apple nears $3 trillion market value as stock marches higher
- MotorTrend names all-electric Rivian R1T truck of the year
U.S. stock futures rose slightly Monday after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq broke two-week losing streaks and had their best weekly performances since February. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which ended a four-week losing streak, had its best weekly performance since March. The Dow and Nasdaq still have more work to do, but the S&P 500 closed at a record high Friday, rebounding from a stretch of selling that began on Nov. 26. Futures trimmed gains, however, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed Monday that at least one patient infected with the omicron Covid variant died in the U.K.
The number of Covid deaths in America is approaching 800,000. According to data from Johns Hopkins University early Monday, U.S. fatalities since the coronavirus was first discovered in late 2019 totaled 797,348. While the delta variant remains the dominant strain in the U.S., contributing to more than 1,200 deaths per day, officials are doubling down on their push to get Americans vaccinated in the face of highly mutated omicron. Covid booster shots provide "optimal care," White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.
After Friday's biggest year-over-year jump in consumer prices in nearly 40 years, inflation will again be the focus for investors as Tuesday brings the latest read on producer prices and the start of the Federal Reserve's two-day December meeting. The central bank, in its final scheduled policy gathering of the year, is expected to discuss speeding up the end of its bond-buying program. Ahead of Wednesday afternoon's Fed decision, the latest read on retail sales will be released before the bell that morning. Industrial production figures and weekly jobless claims data will be out on Thursday.
Apple edged closer to becoming Wall Street's first $3 trillion company. With just over 16.4 billion shares outstanding, Apple would need to reach nearly $182.86 per share to eclipse that milestone, just over a year after topping a stock market value of $2 trillion. As of Friday's close, Apple has gained 35% so far this year, on top of its 80% surge in 2020. Earlier this year, Apple briefly lost its title as the most valuable company to Microsoft, which was about $428 billion away from reaching a market cap of $3 trillion.
MotorTrend on Monday named the all-electric Rivian R1T its 2022 truck of the year, beating out other pickups from Ford, General Motors and Hyundai. MotorTrend called the R1T, which is the first mass-produced electric truck in the U.S., "the most remarkable pickup truck we've ever driven," in a release announcing the award. Rivian Automotive, the electric vehicle start-up backed Ford and Amazon, went public last month. Shares on Nov. 16 traded up as much as 130% to $179.47 from its $78 initial public offering price. Rivian has backed off a bit since then. Even with Monday's premarket boost, the stock is still trading around $117 a share.