Here are five things you must know for Monday, December 6:
1. -- Stock Futures Mixed Amid Omicron, Inflation Concerns
U.S. equity futures move cautiously higher Monday, while the dollar extended gains against its global peers and oil prices rebounded firmly, as investors entered the week eyeing developments in the Omicron spread while closing tracking inflation data ahead of a key release later this week.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Sunday that data from South Africa, where the new variant was first discovered, indicates that Omicron may induce milder symptoms than previously forecast, although its rapid spread continues to worry virologists around the world.
Omicron concerns have also been paired with bets on a more Hawkish Federal Reserve, which cautioned last week that the tapering of its bond purchase plan -- the first of many steps toward higher headline interest rates -- could quicken in the face of faster inflation prospects.
Weaker-than-expected jobs data Friday, which showed only 210,000 new positions added in November, has thus far failed to temper those bets, with traders eying Friday's November CPI release.
On Wall Street, futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a 90 point opening bell gain while those linked to the S&P 500 are priced for a 1 point bump to the upside. Futures tied to the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite are indicating a modest 115 point dip at the start of trading as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields hold at 1.40%, in overnight trading.
2. -- Evergrande Faces Default Specter As Chairman Summoned in Beijing
China Evergrande Group plunged to an all time low Monday after the indebted property developer faces $342.5 million in payments to creditors as its chairman was summoned by authorities in Beijing.
Evergrande has been scrambling to raise cash through assets sales, while having creditor demand for repayment slowed by statements of support from Chinese authorities, as it faces a mountain of debt deadlines linked to some $300 billion in past borrowing. The slow burn has already lead to contagion in the country's property sector, with smaller rival Sunshine 100 China Holdings defaulting on a $170 million payment Monday and Kaisa Group Holdings failing to convince creditors to accept a debt restructuring last week.
The concerns were broad enough to trigger a form of interest rate easing from the People's Bank of China for only the second time this year Monday, while stocks in the region tumbled amid worries linked to both the indebted property sector and overvalued tech stocks.
Evergrande shares closed 19.56% lower in Hong Kong trading at an all-time low of HK$1.81 each.
3. -- Bitcoin Crash Crushes Crypto Markets
Bitcoin prices were under pressure again Monday following another wild weekend for the global cryptocurrency market that hived more than $1 billion from its collective market value.
Bitcoin, which reached an all-time peak of just under $60,000 last month, traded as low as $41,967 each on Saturday as investors -- many of whom had reportedly made purchases with borrowed money -- took cash out of crypto markets amid the broader pullback in risk appetite linked to Omicron worries around the world.
Many local Bitcoin exchanges closed out leveraged positions over the weekend, as well, accelerating the price decline in other markets and pulling rival coins such as ether -- which is down 18.5% from its November 10 high -- sharply lower.
Bitcoin prices were last seen 3.8% lower from Sunday's levels and changing hands at $47,440.50 each.
4. -- Kohl's Under Pressure to Separate e-Commerce Division
Kohl's Corp (KSS) - Get Kohl's Corporation Report shares jumped higher in pre-market trading following a report from the Wall Street Journal that suggested the retailer may consider separating its e-commerce division from its mainstream business.
Activist hedge fund Engine Capital LP has asked Kohl's management to consider the sale or the separation of the e-commerce division, arguing it could be valued as high as $12.4 billion -- a near 70% premium to the Friday closing value for the entire group.
Kohl's said digital sales rose 6% from last year over the third quarter, and were up 33% from 2019 levels, with CEO Michelle Gass telling investors on September 30 that digital and brick-and-mortar retail "reinforce each other, together delivering an exceptional customer experience through a seamless omnichannel integration of offerings and conveniences."
Kohl's shares were marked 02.2% higher in pre-market trading to indicate and opening bell price of $49.50 each.
5. -- Biden Mulling Diplomatic Boycott of China Winter Games
China warned the United States Monday that a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing would result in 'countermeasures' that could harm political and business ties between the world's two largest economies.
CNN reported Sunday that President Joe Biden will announce the boycott, which would see athletes participating under the American flag but prevent government officials from attending, later this week. The Games are slated to begin on February 4
China's Foreign Ministry labelled calls for a boycott "grandstanding", adding that any move to limit participation would "affect the dialogue and cooperation between China and the United States in important areas."
Biden told reporters in November a diplomatic boycott was "something we are considering".