Dow Eases From Record on Fears of Further Virus Restrictions By

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By Yasin Ebrahim – The Dow eased from a record on Monday as investors weighed up the risk of further restrictions in the U.S. to curb an expected surge in the spread of the virus over the holidays against optimism over the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rollout and renewed efforts on Capitol Hill to reach a stimulus deal.

The fell 0.10%, or 29 points after hitting an intraday record of 30,325.79  The was up 0.09%, while the rose 0.81%.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said New Yorkers should “prepare for the possibility for a full shutdown” after Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the weekend warned that the city could enter a full shutdown within a month.

On Sunday, New York reported 206 hospitalizations, above the city’s 200 limit, following 2,209 new cases that took the seven-day average positivity rate of 5.53%.

Fears other parts of the U.S. could be set for further restrictions in the coming weeks offset fresh hopes for a stimulus deal.

U.S. lawmakers have proposed to split the $908 billion stimulus bill into two parts: a $748 billion proposal that has bipartisan support including aid for vaccine distribution and unemployed benefits, and the other, a $160 billion bill for state and local support and temporary Covid-19 liability protection.

The proposed new path toward getting a stimulus deal over the line stoked investor expectations that lawmakers would be able to deliver some form of stimulus before the congressional holiday recess on Friday.

Efforts in the ongoing battle against the pandemic received a major boost on Monday as the U.S. began rolling out the Pfizer-Biotech vaccine after the FDA granted on Friday granted emergency authorization.

“Nearly three million doses of the shot have reportedly been transported across the country with a goal of vaccinating more than 100 million people by the end of March … but the expected timeline assumes zero hiccups in terms of production and manufacturing…” Stifel Economics said.

Sectors of the market set to benefit from the rollout of a vaccine that could speed up the reopening of the economy traded mostly in the red, led by energy.

Energy fell more than 2% as oil prices turned negative amid fresh concerns about weakening crude demand.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Monday cut its forecast for 2021 growth in oil demand to 5.9 million barrels a day, down 350,000 barrels a day from a prior forecast.

In industrials, Boeing (NYSE:) also eased from session highs on reports the aircraft maker has expanded inspections of newly produced 787 Dreamliner jets after finding more defects, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Tech and consumer discretionary stocks, both up about 1%, kept losses in the broader market in check, with the latter underpinned by a climb in shares of (NASDAQ:) as the crucial holiday season is underway.

Facebook (NASDAQ:) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:) were higher while Alphabet (NASDAQ:), and Apple (NASDAQ:) were lower.

In other news,  Airbnb (NASDAQ:) fell over 7% after Gordon Haskett downgraded the stock underperform from buy, citing concerns over a lofty valuation. The company’s shares remain well above its IPO price of $68.

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