Stocks End Mixed on Fears of Renewed Covid Lockdowns

Pfizer's vaccine arrives at U.S. distribution sites but fears of renewed lockdowns turn Wall Street jittery.
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Stocks ended mixed Monday as the first coronavirus vaccines arrived at distribution sites across the country but fears of renewed lockdowns tempered gains on Wall Street as the U.S. surpassed 300,000 deaths from the virus.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned residents they should prepare for a full shutdown to stem a further surge in the coronavirus.

“We’re hopefully talking about weeks, but we’re preparing mentally and practically for that possibility,” the mayor told CNN. “We’re seeing the kind of level of infection with the coronavirus we haven’t seen since May and we have to stop the momentum.”

The country has surpassed 16.3 million confirmed coronavirus infections and reported over 300,000 deaths from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 184 points, or 0.62%, to 29,860, the S&P 500 fell 0.44% while the Nasdaq ended up 0.50%.

The first deliveries of the vaccine from Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report and partner BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get Report were delivered from Pfizer’s plant in Kalamazoo, Mich., and arrived Monday mostly at hospitals across all 50 states.

A nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York City was the first to receive a Covid-19 vaccination in the United States.

The emergency use authorization for the vaccine from U.S. health agencies came over the weekend. 

Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, told “Fox News Sunday” that bipartisan group of lawmakers would "have a bill produced for the American people (Monday), $908 billion.” He said he was confident Congress would pass a relief bill before the holiday break.

Details were hammered out on small business help, vaccine-distribution funding and other key areas, Bloomberg reported, citing both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. The sticking point remains Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's demand on a shield for employers from virus-related lawsuits.

A key reading on U.S. retail sales for November and the Federal Reserve's final policy meeting of the year highlight this week's busy economic calendar.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals  (ALXN) - Get Report surged Monday after the rare disease specialist agreed to a $39 billion takeover by Britain's AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Report.

Stocks in the U.S. fell last week - the S&P 500 declined 1% after two weeks of solid gains - largely because of fading prospects for another aid package from Washington.

"While rising Covid cases and stimulus deadlock may have some traders more nervous than usual about any pullback blowing up into something bigger, last week’s stock market dip was very much in sync with the historical rhythm," said Chris Larkin, managing director of trading and investing product at E*Trade. "Looking back, the market has a tendency to kick off December in a slump and then rally, and repeat. Any individual year can stray from the pattern, but the market could gain some traction with vaccines starting to roll out."