Fast-Spreading COVID-19 Strain Sparks New UK Lockdowns, US Markets Fall 3%

Investors woke up to an ugly market Monday morning, with S&P 500 futures falling as much as 3% in the premarket.

Monday’s trading session has already been quite volatile as traders work to digest a mix of news both good and bad.

On a positive note, the U.S. Congress is planning a final vote on a new stimulus package today. The package’s price tag is about $900 billion. The bill includes direct cash payments to households, $600 per adult and $600 per child. It also includes $300 per week added to state unemployment checks.

President Trump, who asked for larger payments to households, is expected to sign the bill into law.

The markets were largely anticipating the stimulus package last week. Some selling on the passage of the bill isn’t surprising.

The bad news was across the pond in the U.K. — a new strain of COVID-19 seems to be even more contagious than previous strains.

The EU has banned travel from the U.K. and is closing down borders ahead of the Christmas holiday. This comes on the heels of a rocky week of negotiations between the U.K. and the EU on the Brexit trade agreement.

Oil and stocks fell in premarket trading. After the opening bell, the S&P 500 traded down as much as 2%. Since then, many have taken the opportunity to buy the dip. At writing, the S&P 500 was down less than 0.5%. The Dow Jones has turned positive on the day.

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