Global stocks rise ahead of a $908 billion pandemic relief bill reaching Congress and the US rolls out the first COVID-19 vaccines

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  • Global stocks rose on Monday ahead of a $908 billion stimulus plan to be unveiled in Congress and thousands of the long-awaited vaccines are expected to roll out later the same day.
  • The pandemic relief plan is expected to be divided into two parts in a bid to win approval from both sides of the House.
  • The pound rose as a deadline on Brexit talks was deferred yet again after both the UK and EU pledged to go the extra mile and reach an agreement before December 31.
  • Germany will enter a hard lockdown from Wednesday onwards until at least January 10.
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Global stocks rose on Monday as US lawmakers are set to unveil a $908 billion pandemic relief bill to Congress and the first batch of vaccines are expected to arrive in all 50 states on the same day.

Every US state is set to receive vaccine doses that will first go out to the most at-risk people, including frontline workers and people over 65. 

Futures tied to the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq rose between 0.3% and 0.6%, suggesting the major indices will open higher when regular trading gets underway later on.

US lawmakers plan to divide the coronavirus relief plan into two proposals in order to be voted on separately, Reuters reported. One part will cover a $748 billion measure – aimed at small businesses, the vaccine distribution process, and the unemployed. The other part will cover local and state aid, and liability protections for employers against virus-related lawsuits.

Elsewhere in Europe, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have resolved to “go the extra mile” to arrive at a Brexit trade deal. The two leaders had set a Sunday deadline to decide whether a deal would be struck. Both leaders have said negotiators will continue talks this week as the UK’s exit from the EU single market approaches December 31. 

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“Sunday’s Brexit deadline proved to once again be pencilled in rather than set in stone, to the surprise of no one,” said Craig Erlam, a senior market analyst at OANDA.

The pound rose 1.3% against the dollar on Monday, the most on a daily basis in almost two months, “after the UK and the EU once again showed us that last-minute deadlines mean nothing, and continued talking in the hopes of avoiding a WTO-terms Brexit,” Rabobank analysts said.

The pound hit its highest since May 2018 earlier this month, when the British medical regulator approved the first vaccines against COVID-19. 

London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3%, the Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.8%, and Germany’s DAX rose 0.9%.

A new wave of coronavirus cases has prompted yet another lockdown for Germany from Wednesday. Most stores, schools, and day-care centres will be shut before Christmas until at least January 10, according to Deutsche Welle.

A continuation of EU-UK trade talks focused on a fairly muted start to the week in terms of cross-asset price action in Asia, said Stephen Innes, chief market analyst at Axi. 

China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.6%, Tokyo’s Nikkei rose 0.3%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 0.4%.

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