Business briefing

The daily business briefing: January 15, 2021

Biden unveils $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, jobless claims rise as businesses struggle with coronavirus surge, and more

1

Biden proposes $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package

President-elect Joe Biden released details on his $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan on Thursday. He said the cost was high, but, "The very health of our nation is at stake." The proposal includes several key Democratic priorities, including another round of direct payments to Americans. The plan calls for sending most Americans relief checks of $1,400, and also would provide $400 billion for expanded testing and vaccine distribution to help fight the spread of COVID-19. The plan includes $400 per week in boosted unemployment benefits through September, and $350 billion for state and local governments. It also calls for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Biden will need 10 GOP votes in the Senate to beat a filibuster, but Democrats might resort to a parliamentary process known as budget reconciliation to bypass a filibuster, if necessary.

2

Jobless claims jump as coronavirus surge shakes economy

First-time applications for unemployment benefits rose to 965,000 last week, the biggest weekly total in five months, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. The figure marked an increase of 181,000 over the revised total for the previous week. It far surpassed the 800,000 new jobless claims economists had predicted. The change underscored the damage that surging COVID-19 cases and deaths have done to the economy, as businesses lose customers and curb hiring. The federal government reported last week that the economy lost 140,000 jobs in December, the first monthly loss since April.

3

Stock futures edge lower as investors digest Biden plan

U.S. stock index futures fell slightly early Friday after President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan, raising investor concerns it could require tax increases. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down by 0.4 percent several hours before the opening bell. Those of the Nasdaq fell by 0.3 percent. Anticipation of Biden's relief package lifted markets for weeks due to expectations that increased government spending on checks to families and extra unemployment benefits would boost the economic recovery, but the size of the package made some investors nervous. "The magnitude obviously was surprising on the upside," said Wei Li, head of investment strategy for BlackRock's exchange-traded fund and index investments for Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

4

Airlines ban checked guns on flights to Washington

Airlines and airports increased security on Thursday as federal authorities warned of further threats of violence ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration next week. Delta Air Lines was the first carrier to announce that it would bar passengers from checking guns on flights to Washington, D.C.,-area airports. United, Alaska, American, and Southwest airlines followed with similar bans later in the day. The policies start Saturday and will remain in effect until Jan. 23. The moves were prompted by the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building by supporters of President Trump aiming to overturn Biden's election win. Five people died in the violence. "We are all on high alert based on the events over the last couple weeks up in Washington," Delta CEO Ed Bastian told CNBC.

5

Poshmark shares jump by 141 percent in market debut

Poshmark shares soared by more than 141 percent on Thursday in the online clothing reseller's market debut. The stock started trading at $97.50 per share, up from Wednesday's initial public offering price of $42 per share. The IPO gave the company an initial valuation of more than $3 billion, up from nearly $600 million in its last round of funding just over three years ago. Poshmark was established in 2011 as a marketplace connecting buyers and sellers of second-hand clothing, shoes, and accessories. Poshmark takes a cut of every sale. It has tapped into a growing market for secondhand goods. Rivals include luxury consignment site TheRealReal, sneaker reseller StockX, and virtual thrift store ThredUp.

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