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Futures Fall After Bitcoin Plunge

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Here’s what you need to know to navigate the markets today.

• Stocks are set to open Monday morning slightly down. On Sunday night, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures lost 46 points, or 0.1%, while the S&P 500 futures fell 0.2% and Nasdaq Composite futures declined 0.3%. Companies reporting earnings this week include: Coca-ColaIBM, and United Airlines on Monday; Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Netflix on Tuesday; Verizon and Chipotle on Wednesday; Intel, AT&T, and American Airlines on Thursday; and American ExpressHoneywell and Kimberly-Clark on Friday. On Thursday, the National Association of Realtors releases existing-home sales data for March and the Conference Board releases its Leading Economic Index for March. On Friday, the Census Bureau reports sales of new single-family homes for March. 

• Bitcoin plunged 15% overnight before recovering about half its losses on Sunday. Just days earlier, the leading cryptocurrency by market cap had reached an all-time high of nearly $65,000 ahead of the public trading debut for the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. It’s unclear why Bitcoin’s value fell so sharply. One idea is that the drop was related to concerns that the U.S. Treasury might crack down on money laundering conducted through digital assets, Bloomberg reported. Interest in cryptocurrencies has soared as Bitcoin is now accepted as payment for everything from a new Tesla to PayPal purchases. Bitcoin was trading around $55,700, down about 8%, as of 1 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday.

• A decision on whether to resume using Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S. should come by Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “I don’t know what that’s going to be, but thinking about what the possibilities are, one of the possibilities would be to bring them back, but to do it with some form of restriction or some form of warning.” Use of the vaccine was halted on April 13 after reports of serious blood clots among six women who received it. One of the women died.

• Kroger closed two of its grocery stores in Long Beach, California, on Saturday after local officials approved a “hero pay” ordinance to raise wages in the city by $4 per hour. The ordinance extended pay for at least 120 days to workers at retailers with at least 300 workers nationwide. Kroger is also planning to close three stores in the Los Angeles area next month after officials there approved hero pay measures to raise wages by $5 an hour. “The irreparable harm that will come to employees and local citizens as a direct result of the City of Long Beach’s attempt to pick winners and losers, is deeply unfortunate,” Kroger said in a statement, KTLA5 reported. The California Grocers Association filed an injunction to stop the increases, but the effort was denied in federal court.

• Travelers to Alaska will be able to get a Covid-19 vaccine at the airport starting on June 1, as part of the state’s multimillion-dollar campaign funded by federal stimulus money to bring visitors back. Doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine will be available to travelers arriving at the Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau or Ketchikan airports, Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced on Friday. “We believe there’s a real opportunity to get folks to come to Alaska again,” Dunleavy added while making the announcement. Alaska, which was the first state in the nation to offer vaccines to residents 16 and older starting on March 9, is joining 21 other states that also offer vaccines to nonresidents.

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