Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told congressional leaders on Monday her department has begun taking extra steps to avoid default after a suspension of the debt limit ended over the weekend. In a letter, Yellen once again urged Congress to act “as soon as possible” on the borrowing limit. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the Treasury could run out of cash to pay bills in October or November absent a debt-limit increase. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has suggested no Republicans will vote to increase or suspend the borrowing limit, while the White House says President Joe Biden expects lawmakers to vote to raise it.
One out of three COVID-19 cases occurred in Florida and Texas over the past week, and 17% of cases came from seven states with the lowest vaccination rates in the U.S., the White House said Monday. “We remain concerned about the continued rise in cases, driven by the delta variant,” Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 response coordinator, told reporters during a news briefing. “These cases are concentrated in communities with lower vaccination rates.” That said, the overall vaccination rate is increasing; more than 3 million Americans have received a first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine in the past seven days. At least 49.7% of people in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated, as of Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Stocks gave up early gains to end mostly lower Monday, in a move analysts attributed partly to jitters over signs of peaking economic growth and the continued spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell around 99 points, or 0.3%, to close near 34,836, according to preliminary figures, while the S&P 500
gave up around 8 points, or 0.2%, finish near 4,387. The Nasdaq Composite
bucked the trend, holding on to a gain of around 8 points, or 0.1%, to end near 14,681.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a tweet on Monday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 even after being vaccinated. Graham said he has “mild” symptoms at the present time and will be quarantining for 10 days. “I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now,” he added. There is growing worry about breakthrough infections in vaccinated people, even though such infections are rare.
President Joe Biden on Sunday “raised the prospect” of a new, 30-day eviction moratorium focused on U.S. counties with high or substantial COVID-19 case rates, the White House said Monday. An eviction ban expired at midnight Saturday. The White House said that to date, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky and her team haven’t been able to find legal authority for a new, targeted eviction moratorium. Biden is now asking his policy and other teams to reexamine whether there are other authorities to take more actions to stop evictions, the White House said. The president is also calling on states to extend or put in place eviction moratoriums for at least the next two months.
Oil futures slumped Monday, kicking off August on a down note as investors weighed weaker-than-expected, survey-based readings on economic activity in China and the U.S. and continued to monitor the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery
fell $2.69, or 3.6%, to close at $71.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold futures settled higher Monday, starting August on an upbeat note for the precious metal as a retrenchment in the U.S. dollar
and a further pullback in 10-year Treasury yields
helped to pave the way for buying in bullion. December gold
gained $5, or 0.3%, to end at $1,822.20 an ounce. The 10-year Treasury yield fell below 1.15%, extending the fall to the lowest levels since February, briefly on Monday and the U.S. dollar was off 0.1%, as gauged by the ICE U.S. Dollar Index. Concerns about the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 also was attributed to the move to assets perceived as havens.
The U.S. reached a COVID-19 milestone on Monday by having 70% of American adults receive at least one dose of a vaccine, according to a tweet from Cyrus Shahpar, White House COVID-19 data director, emergency physician and epidemiologist. President Joe Biden had wanted to reach that goal by the July 4 holiday, but the U.S. vaccine program had slowed sharply in the weeks preceding that date. More than 468,000 doses had been reported to have been administered by early afternoon Monday, including 320,000 that were in newly vaccinated people, up from 257,000 a week ago, said the tweet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker shows that as of Sunday, about 165 million Americans are fully vaccinated, equal to 49.6% of the population. Among adults 18-years-and-older, 60.5% are fully vaccinated. That means they have had two doses of the vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc.
and German partner BioNTech SE
and Moderna Inc.
or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose regimen. Public health experts have been urging people to get their shots as the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus has cases rising in all 50 states.
said Monday it’s using an in-house designed semiconductor to power its new line of phones this fall. In a blog post, Google said its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones will contain its custom Tensor chip. “AI is the future of our innovation work, but the problem is we’ve run into computing limitations that prevented us from fully pursuing our mission,” said Rick Osterloh, head of Google devices and services, in the post. “So we set about building a technology platform built for mobile that enabled us to bring our most innovative AI and machine learning (ML) to our Pixel users.” Google said it will announce pricing and availability of the new phones “later this year.” Last November, Apple Inc.
debuted its M1 chip in its Mac computers, in a shift away from Intel Corp.
processors, while Amazon.com Inc.
and Microsoft Corp.
are also reportedly designing their own chips.
Shares of buy-now pay-later (BNPL) company Affirm Holdings Inc.
are surging more than 18% in Monday trading after Square Inc.
announced its plans to purchase BNPL rival Afterpay Ltd.
for a 31% premium in a vote of confidence for the payment trend. The deal is valued at $29 billion. Afterpay and Affirm are among companies offering financial technology that lets consumers split their purchases into installments in a break from the traditional credit-card model of compounding interest. Some BNPL products are interest-free, while others carry simple interest. Affirm’s stock “will now include an M&A premium,” Bernstein’s Harshita Rawat wrote in a note to clients. In her view, the deal announcement translates to a negative read for PayPal Holdings Inc.
which also has expanded into BNPL and is seeing a 0.2% drop in its stock during Monday’s session. She saw a positive read through for Marqeta Inc.
which works with both Afterpay and Square on debit-based products, though Marqeta shares are off 0.4% in Monday trading.