McConnell Blocks Senate Vote, 737 Max Back in the Air

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Monday increasing federal relief checks to eligible Americans from $600 to $2,000, meeting President Donald Trump’s demands to lift stimulus payments.

Stocks pointed higher early Tuesday as the markets remained optimistic on additional relief. Equity markets later sank after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s attempt to pass the bill through unanimous consent. The fate of increased relief payments now lies in the hands of the Senate, which must decide whether to support the bill or oppose it and prevent adding to the federal budget deficit.

All three major U.S. stock market indices ended lower on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day down 68 points, or 0.22%, to close at 30,335.

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Boeing’s 737 Max is back in business. Boeing’s (ticker: BA) 737 Max was reintroduced to the airways on Tuesday, carrying out its first commercial flight in the U.S. since last year with American Airlines ( AAL), departing from Miami to New York City. In March 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered a temporary suspension of the planes following two fatal plane crashes.

On Nov. 18, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson signed an order to clear the way for the Boeing 737 Max to return for commercial service. Alaska Airlines, owned by the Alaska Air Group ( ALK), announced last week that it will acquire more of Boeing’s planes, bringing the airline’s total order of 737 Max planes to 68 with options to receive more. This new order has pushed Alaska Airlines closer to an “all-Boeing mainline fleet,” according to a press release from Boeing.

Another vaccine trial begins. Biotech company Novavax ( NVAX) has announced a phase 3 study, called PREVENT-19, to assess the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The placebo-controlled clinical trial includes 30,000 subjects ages 18 and older and is being conducted in the U.S. and Mexico in collaboration with Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership created by the U.S. government.

Shares of Novavax closed the trading day up nearly 3%.

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