Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- S&P 500 looks to add to record; J&J touts booster; meme stocks pop
- House Democrats clear path toward passing budget bill, infrastructure
- Biden set to host American CEOs for cybersecurity summit
- Intelligence review on coronavirus origin expected to be inconclusive
- Goldman Sachs to require everyone entering its offices to be fully vaccinated
1. S&P 500 looks to add to record; J&J touts booster; meme stocks pop
U.S. stock futures were flat Wednesday, one day after the S&P 500 closed at a record high. The Nasdaq closed above 15,000 for the first time ever. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also saw modest gains but remained about 0.7% away its latest record close on Aug. 16. Investors continued to buy last week's dip, driving the S&P 500 and Nasdaq higher for their fourth straight sessions Tuesday. The Dow logged a three-session winning streak.
Dow stock Johnson & Johnson was modestly higher in Wednesday's premarket after the U.S. drugmaker said a booster shot of its Covid vaccine generated virus-fighting antibodies "nine-fold higher" than those seen four weeks after the single dose. J&J's vaccine, cleared for emergency use in the U.S., only requires one dose. Recipients are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the shot.
Shares of meme stocks AMC Entertainment and GameStop rose in the premarket after they closed up more than 20% and 27.5%, respectively, on Tuesday. The 10-year Treasury yield ticked higher Wednesday to around 1.3% ahead of this week's Federal Reserve's annual economic symposium, held virtually this year due to rising nationwide Covid cases.
2. House Democrats clear path toward passing budget bill, infrastructure
House Democrats forged ahead with President Joe Biden's economic plans Tuesday after they broke a stalemate that had threatened to unravel the party's sprawling agenda. In a 220-212 party-line vote, the House passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution and advanced a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. The vote allows Democrats to write and approve a massive spending package without Republicans and puts the Senate-passed infrastructure plan on a path to final passage in the House. The measure includes a nonbinding commitment to vote on the infrastructure bill by Sept. 27.
3. Biden set to host American CEOs for cybersecurity summit
Biden is set to meet Wednesday with top executives from several of the largest companies in tech, financial services, insurance, energy and education to talk about how to combat cybersecurity threats. The event — featuring CEOs from Amazon, Apple and JPMorgan Chase, among others — comes after the U.S. experienced several large cyberattacks that have added urgency to the public and private sectors in containing such threats. On a call with reporters, a senior administration official said the goal was to address "root causes" of the attacks, like gaps in critical infrastructure and sine 500,000 unfilled U.S. cybersecurity jobs.
4. Intelligence review on coronavirus origin expected to be inconclusive
The unclassified version of a U.S. intelligence investigation into the origin in China of the novel coronavirus, which has swept the globe since late 2019 and killed nearly 4.5 million people worldwide, is expected in the next few days. The review, ordered by Biden in May, is not expected to yield firm answers on whether it started as a lab accident or occurred naturally in animal-to-human contact. A Chinese official said Wednesday, "If they want to baselessly accuse China, they better be prepared to accept the counterattack from China." China was seen as hindering earlier international efforts to gather key information on the ground.
5. Goldman Sachs to require everyone entering its offices to be fully vaccinated
Goldman Sachs said Tuesday only Covid vaccinated people — both employees and clients — can enter its buildings, starting Sept. 7. The banking powerhouse also said, according to a company memo sent to U.S. workers, that everybody must wear masks in all common areas. Goldman Sachs is also implementing a mandatory weekly testing program for vaccinated workers on Sept. 7, according to a source who declined to be identified when speaking about personnel matters. The moves, which came one day after the FDA gave full approval to Pfizer's two-shot Covid vaccine, followed similar edicts from Morgan Stanley and Citigroup.