Good morning and welcome to the stock market today! Talk of digital real estate, Covid-19 vaccines and upcoming earnings from GameStop (NYSE:GME) are flooding Wall Street. With so much noise to sort through, what will the stock market do today? And what else do you need to know?
To start, the top movers include a few odd names. Non-fungible token stocks like Takung Art (NYSEMKT:TKAT) continue to stay relevant as the crypto assets blossom. QuantumScape (NYSE:QS), the battery startup, is struggling. A new stock offering to fund its pilot program has investors more than a little worried about dilution. Lastly, Benitec Biopharma (NASDAQ:BNTC) is soaring as one big investor ups their stake.
So what else will the stock market do today? Here are the top three stories.
What Will the Stock Market Do Today? Fret About Taxes.
With the American Rescue Plan in motion, investors have been waiting for the next move from President Joe Biden. According to the Wall Street Journal, it looks like that plan is here.
The latest report outlines how the Biden administration has drafted a roughly $3 trillion economic program. The first half would touch on infrastructure promises contained in his Build Back Better campaign, such as revitalizing roads and bridges. Then, the package would go on to fund education, expand the child tax credit and create tuition-free community college in the U.S.
What does this mean for investors?
Largely, Wall Street has been excited about such an infrastructure spending program, and stocks have already rallied in anticipation. A focus on roads and bridges and more traditional infrastructure could disappoint investors looking for a renewable energy boost. Remember, Biden promised $2 trillion in investments in clean energy, such as an expanded electric vehicle charging network. However, there is already concern that such a green focus would bring challenges from Republicans and even certain Democrats.
There is also now the concern of funding. Where will that $3 trillion come from? Will Biden start to implement some of his proposed tax changes? According to a new Bloomberg report, higher taxes seem likely, and investors are already worried.
Expect this story to keep unfolding, and for tax woes to edge out inflation fears. As talks over the spending bill progress, there should also be clear opportunities for investors to benefit.
AstraZeneca, Crude Oil and a New Pandemic?
Europe finds itself in a serious pandemic rut.
The German government has declared that it is in a new pandemic, referring to the United Kingdom strain of Covid-19. Other countries are urging limits on travel and renewing restrictions. Making matters worse is the fact that the vaccine rollout in the European Union has hit more than a few potholes.
Over the last several days, reports of blood clots is AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) vaccine recipients have raised concerns. Although the top health agency says there is limited risk, many individuals are not buying it. In fact, European lawmakers have embarked on a public relations campaign to boost the image of AstraZeneca and highlight political leaders who have received the shot. Yesterday, data from the pharmaceutical firm seemed to underscore the positives. AstraZeneca said its vaccine had an overall efficacy rate of 79% and triggered no serious side effects.
Then, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases sounded the alarm. After a tip off from the Data Safety Monitoring Board, NIAID shared its concerns that AstraZeneca had released incomplete or even misleading results. In response, AstraZeneca said its results reflected a data cut-off date of Feb. 17. The company also promised to share the results of its primary analysis within 48 hours, giving officials insight into its latest data.
Consumers in Europe are struggling to find faith in AstraZeneca, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval may not be enough to change that narrative. For Europe, AstraZeneca woes are also slowing down a much-needed recovery, which has extended ramifications. This morning, crude oil prices are slipping and pulling oil stocks down too. It seems investors are worried that demand will not bounce back in time to match rising supply.
A Crystal Ball Into the Post-Pandemic Future
A handful of tech stocks pushed the market through the pandemic and proved their relevancy in uncertain and unprecedented times. With the Covid-19 vaccine rollout underway, it seems these early winners are in jeopardy. What will investors do with video calls, work-from-home tech and online education names when we can all return to normal?
Zoom (NASDAQ:ZM) and Slack (NYSE:WORK), two such winners, are giving us a look into the crystal ball.
It is no secret now that video conferencing and work messaging solutions saved the day. They allowed whole offices to mostly seamlessly transition to working from home. Video calls also transformed social life, facilitating graduations, birthday parties and weekly family meetings. However, a huge part of the post-pandemic narrative is the return to in-person working and mingling.
Zoom and Slack thing they have a way to stay relevant. Enter what Robinhood Snacks calls Zoom as a service. Essentially, the video-conferencing giant announced plans to license its tech. Other companies could run their own branded calls on its platform, helping to facilitate future social media livestreams or virtual medical appointments. Slack, which is partnered with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), is already doing much of the same.
This creative pivot may give us insight into what to expect from other pandemic winners. And for companies like Box (NYSE:BOX), which failed to wow during the pandemic, it seems it is time for strategic alternatives.
On the date of publication, Sarah Smith did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Sarah Smith is a Web Content Producer with InvestorPlace.com.