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Global Markets Falter as Democrats Ramp Up Efforts

European markets remain relatively unchanged, BTC breaks $52,000 as president Biden and the democrats push for approval of the stimulus bill.

SageFX - Feb, 18, 21

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Principal Points

  • European equities struggle to the upside
  • US stock futures point to a mixed open

European markets opened trading on Thursday relatively unchanged. Slightly positive in the early hours of the session, the DAX is flashing some green, up by roughly 0.30%, followed by the CAC40 and the FTSE100, up about 0.20% and 0.10%, respectively. European equities are trading in a subdued manner as traders and investors weigh the implications of a recent jump in treasury yields while oil prices rise with the US deep freeze hurting domestic crude output. In London this morning, copper hit an 8-year high as China traders return to the market from their Lunar new year holiday. On the cryptocurrency front, bitcoin made a new high earlier, breaking above $52,000. The number one digital token remains near its record top as bulls maintain the price currently around $51,700.

The relatively muted trading in the past couple of weeks follows the longest winning streak in global equities for the last 17 years. US equity futures point to a mixed open later today as the market continues to provide enough support to keep the indexes near record highs while US President Joe Biden is pushing for the passage of his American Rescue Plan. The Biden administration and the Democrats in Congress are stepping up their efforts to enact the $1.9tn stimulus package. Now that Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is behind, House Democrats say a floor vote could come as early as next week and the enactment of the fiscal stimulus could happen before March 14 when the federal unemployment benefits start expiring.

President Biden and the Democrats Push for Approval

“We will be ready to take further action on the American Rescue Plan in the event the Senate amends it and sends it back to us,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, hoping to avoid a mid-March lapse in unemployment benefits. If House Democrats manage to have the latest relief package legislation on the House floor by Friday, it will leave enough time for the final passage to occur on the week of March 8. The goal is to allow the Senate time for possible amendments.

If approved, the stimulus bill will provide millions of Americans with $1,400 direct payments before the expiration of the current unemployment benefits. Additionally, the rescue package will provide $400 federal unemployment benefits while it begins to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The relief bill also includes large-scale funding for vaccine distribution as well as aid for state and local governments.

To get around the 60-vote threshold on the fiscal bill, Democrats are using a process called reconciliation, effectively bypassing the Republicans. It only requires a simple majority of 51 votes, instead of the needed 60 to defeat a filibuster.

Senate and House Republicans have opposed some of the measures. They criticize the $1,400 checks as too broad and urge the Democrats to lower the eligibility criteria from $75,000 to $50,000 in yearly income.