Trump Impeachment, Biden's $2 Trillion Plan, Alibaba, Delta - 5 Things You Must Know Thursday

President-elect Joe Biden reportedly could unveil a Covid-19 relief package of about $2 trillion; President Trump is impeached a second time; U.S. investors can still buy shares of Alibaba and Baidu.
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Here are five things you must know for Thursday, Jan. 14:

1. -- Stock Futures Rise Ahead of Biden's Spending Proposal

Stock futures traded mostly higher Thursday and Treasury yields rose after a report said President-elect Joe Biden could unveil a Covid-19 relief package of about $2 trillion.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 78 points, S&P 500 futures gained 4 points and Nasdaq futures fell 3 points.  

Biden's advisers recently told allies in Congress to expect a price tag of about $2 trillion, CNN reported, citing two people briefed on the deliberations.

Biden is expected to announce his plans for coronavirus relief on Thursday evening. 

The Biden team is taking a "shoot for the moon" approach with the package, one lawmaker told CNN. The proposal is expected to include sizable direct payments to American families, and significant state and local funding, including for coronavirus vaccine distribution, according to the report.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury rose to 1.107% following the CNN report. Yields have been rising recently on expectations the incoming Biden administration would boost government spending.

Stocks finished mixed Wednesday, shortly before the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump. 

2. -- Donald Trump Impeached a Second Time

President Donald Trump was impeached Wednesday by the House of Representatives for inciting insurrection.

It was the second time Trump has been impeached during his administration, and comes just a week before he is to leave office.

The House voted 232 to 197 to impeach Trump. Ten Republican members joined Democrats in voting to impeach the president.

It remains unclear when the Senate will conduct a trial, though outgoing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Republican colleagues in a letter Wednesday it won’t get underway until Trump's term ends on Jan. 20 and Joe Biden takes office.

McConnell, however, said he hasn't decided on whether to convict Trump for inciting an insurrection that left five dead after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to disrupt the ceremonial counting of Electoral College Votes confirming Biden’s victory in November.

In his letter, McConnell wrote that "while the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate."

3. -- Thursday's Economic Calendar: Jobless Claims, Jerome Powell Discussion

The U.S. economic calendar for Thursday includes weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. ET and Import and Export Prices for December at 8:30 a.m.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will appear at a livestream event hosted by Markus Brunnermerier, director of Princeton University's Bendheim Center for Finance, at 12:30 p.m.

BlackRock  (BLK) - Get Report posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $10.18 a share share, beating analysts' estimates of $9.14. Assets under management at BlackRock rose to a record $8.68 trillion in the fourth quarter.

Delta Air Lines  (DAL) - Get Report reported an adjusted fourth-quarter loss of $2.53 a share vs. analysts' expectations that called for a loss of $2.51.

The stock rose more than 2% in premarket trading.

How to Trade Delta Air Lines After Earnings Report

4. -- U.S. Investors Still Allowed to Buy Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu Shares

The U.S. government is expected to let American investors continue to buy shares of Chinese technology giants Alibaba Group  (BABA) - Get Report, Tencent Holdings  (TCEHY)  and Baidu  (BIDU) - Get Report, The Wall Street Journal reported, after weighing the companies’ alleged ties to China’s military against the potential economic impact of banning them.

The three Chinese tech giants were on a list of about a dozen companies being examined by the Defense Department as supporting China’s military, intelligence and security services, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. U.S. investors have until November to divest their holdings of any company on the list.

The decision to not add Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu - which have about $1.4 trillion in combined market capitalization - to the list pitted Treasury officials, who feared widespread selloffs and economic fallout, against State Department and Pentagon officials seeking a tougher line against Beijing, the Journal noted.

Nine other companies will be added to the list as well as more than 100 subsidiaries of companies already on the list.

American depositary receipts of Alibaba rose 2.8% in premarket trading to $241.90, and Baidu gained 2.25% to $242.27.

5. -- J&J Says One-Shot Covid Vaccine Generates Immune Response

Johnson & Johnson’s  (JNJ) - Get Report single-shot coronavirus vaccine candidate has been shown to be safe and to generate a meaningful immune response in an early phase trial.

A single shot of the vaccine “gives sustainable antibodies,” Dr. Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer at J&J, told CNBC. The results give the company “confidence” that the vaccine will be effective, he added.

The results of the phase 1-2 trials were published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate is undergoing phase 3 trials as well to determine its actual effectiveness. Results from that study are expected later this month.

If successful and approved, the J&J vaccine would become the third available to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed nearly 385,000 Americans and almost 2 million globally.

Johnson & Johnson shares rose 1.58% to $160.38 in premarket trading.