5 issues you need to know earlier than the inventory market opens on Thursday

Here are the top news, trends, and analysis investors need to get their trading day started:

1. Last day of trading in 2020 on Wall Street

Ornaments on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Holiday Tree on Wall Street on December 9, 2020 in New York City.

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

2. Unemployment claims are below estimates

A help call sign is posted on a taco stand in Solana Beach, California.

Mike Blake | Reuters

The number of first-time applicants for unemployment benefits stood at 787,000 in the week ended December 26, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected 828,000.

Still, the number remained well above pre-pandemic levels. Those receiving benefits under all unemployment programs fell by nearly 800,000 to 19.6 million, compared with 1.8 million a year ago.

3. Europe stocks drop 3.8% annually

A European Union (EU) flies next to a flag of the British Union, also known in London as the Union Jack.

Jason Alden | Bloomberg Creative Photos | Getty Images

European markets, which closed early Thursday, posted slight losses for 2020. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed 0.14% on New Years Eve after a shorter trading session, bringing its losses for 2020 to 3.8%. The worst performing market in the region was the Spanish IBEX, which fell 15% this year.

4. California has identified its first case of a mutant strain of Covid in the UK

Gavin Newsom, California Governor, speaks during a press conference in Sacramento, California

Rich Pedroncelli | Bloomberg | Getty Images

California health officials have identified the state’s first case of a new and contagious strain of Covid-19 that was originally discovered in the UK. The patient is a 30-year-old San Diego County male who showed symptoms on Sunday, government officials confirmed Wednesday.

“I don’t think Californians should feel like this is anything strange. This is expected,” said White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Wednesday during a live Q&A session with California Governor Gavin Newsom. Fauci said other states are likely to identify their own cases of the new strain soon.

5. The US is imposing tariffs on French and German wines and aircraft parts

Qantas A380 will take off on the runway in Saxony, Dresden on August 21, 2020

Tino Plunert | Image Alliance | Getty Images

US trade officials said Wednesday they would impose tariffs on certain European Union products, including aircraft-related parts and wines from France and Germany.

The move came in a 16-year dispute between the US and the EU over subsidies for civil aviation, in which the European aircraft company Airbus and its US-based rival Boeing were involved.

In a statement, the US sales representative’s office stated that the EU had wrongly charged tariffs against the US, which, according to a ruling by the World Trade Organization in September, are permissible in the ongoing dispute: “The EU must take action to correct this injustice.”

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