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Boeing 737 MAX, $2,000 Checks, Novavax Vaccine - 5 Things You Must Know Tuesday

Stock futures point to more Wall Street records; the House passes a bill that would boost stimulus checks to $2,000; Boeing's 737 MAX flies again Tuesday.

Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, Dec. 29:

1. -- Stock Futures Point to More Wall Street Records

Stock futures traded higher Tuesday and were headed for more records as Wall Street gained optimism from President Donald Trump's signing of the coronavirus relief package.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 126 points, S&P 500 futures were up 13 points and Nasdaq futures jumped 58 points.

Stocks closed at record highs Monday after Trump late Sunday signed a $2.3 trillion spending bill that includes nearly $1 trillion of coronavirus relief. The Dow finished up 204 points, or 0.68%, to 30,403, the S&P 500 rose 0.87% to 3,735, and the Nasdaq gained 0.74% to 12,899.

Late Monday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would boost stimulus checks for Americans to $2,000 from the $600 in the legislation that Trump signed into law. The president has supported the proposal.

The bill now heads to the Senate. Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, hasn’t said whether the upper chamber would hold a vote on the increased payments.

2. -- Japan's Nikkei 225 Hits 30-Year High

Asian stocks finished higher Tuesday and the Japan's Nikkei 225 index hit a 30-year high after U.S. President Trump signed the economic aid package. 

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo jumped 2.7% to 27,568.15, the first time it has traded above 27,000 since August 1990, according to FactSet. 

For more on Asian markets read:

U.S. Strengthens Ban on Chinese Military-Linked Firms

3. -- Boeing's 737 MAX Will Fly Again Tuesday 

Boeing's  (BA) - Get Boeing Company Report 737 MAX, grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes, will fly again with paying passengers on Tuesday.

American Airlines'  (AAL) - Get American Airlines Group, Inc. Report Flight 718 is expected to depart from Miami around 10:30 a.m. ET and arrive at New York LaGuardia at 1:30 p.m., USA Today reported. 

The Federal Aviation Administration approved a return to service for the 737 MAX last month. FAA Administrator Steven Dickson said at the time he was "100% confident" in the safety of the aircraft after rescinding the 20-month old order that would allow the plane to resume commercial flights. 

The two crashes of the 737 MAX, in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed 346 people, ultimately were linked to the jet's navigation system.

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United Airlines  (UAL) - Get United Airlines Holdings, Inc. Report said it expects to resume flights of the MAX on Feb. 11.

Boeing shares rose 1.05% to $218.35 in premarket trading Tuesday.

4. -- Coronavirus - The Latest

The number of confirmed global deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, 1,775,661, according to Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed cases of the virus across the world have risen to more than 81.3 million.

The U.S. death toll is 334,963, the most in the world. The number of confirmed infected people in the U.S. was 19,308,467.

There were 150,092 new coronavirus cases in the U.S. as of Monday and 1,209 deaths, according to data from the university.

Hospitalizations related to Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, reached news highs on Monday.

Health officials in Southern California on Tuesday likely will extend stay-at-home orders as intensive-care unit capacity has dropped to 0%, said Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The governor said more than 261,672 vaccine doses have been administered in California so far, Bloomberg reported. He said that by end of the week the state should have received all 904,000 Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report vaccine doses and 858,000 Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report doses the state was expecting to have at this point.

5. -- Novavax Begins Phase 3 Trial of Covid-19 Vaccine

(NVAX) - Get Novavax, Inc. Report  (NVAX) - Get Novavax, Inc. Report has begun a Phase 3 clinical trial of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine on up to 30,000 people at 115 sites in the U.S. and Mexico.

The shot from Novavax will become the fifth vaccine to enter final-stage testing in the U.S. Vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer received authorization for emergency use from the Food and Drug Administration earlier in December, and vaccines from Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report and AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Astrazeneca PLC Sponsored ADR Report are in large-scale trials.

If the results from Novavax's trial are positive, the vaccine could receive approval sometime in 2021.

"We've come this far, this fast, but we need to get to the finish line," Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, which is helping to fund the Novavax study, told The Wall Street Journal. "That will require multiple vaccines using different approaches to ensure everyone is protected safely and effectively from this deadly disease."

In addition to support from the NIH, the Novavax trial will receive $1.6 billion from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Shares of Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Novavax rose 1.07% to $118.10 in premarket trading Tuesday. The stock slumped 9.66% on Monday.