Who Gets the Vaccine Next?

Plus: What Tesla Can Do to Your S&P 500 Index Fund
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DECEMBER 21, 2020 View in browser

WHO WILL GET THE VACCINE NEXT? An expert panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued recommendations for the next groups to receive COVID-19 vaccinations -- after the healthcare workers and nursing-home residents and staff (about 24 million people) already receiving shots. If the CDC adopts the recommendations, the second priority group (49 million) will include adults ages 75 and older, as well as “frontline essential workers” such as first responders, teachers, day care workers, food and agricultural workers, correctional facility staff, postal workers, public transit workers, and people who work in grocery stores and in manufacturing.

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By April, the third priority group – 129 million folks, including adults 65 to 74; people age 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions; and other essential workers not included in the second group – should be getting shots. The economy may not start humming again until later in 2021 after restaurants and regular service businesses open their doors to staff and customers receiving the vaccine.

YOUR INVESTMENTS IN THE S&P 500 JUST GOT MORE VOLATILE TODAY. We wrote to readers Friday about the importance of Tesla’s (TSLA) inclusion in the S&P 500, effective today. Consider some more immediate effects of this rebalancing, courtesy of S&P Dow Jones Indices senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt. Tesla, which set a new record intraday and closing price Friday, will start out as 1.69% of the index, making it the sixth-most influential company behind Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB) and Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL). The index’s price-to-earnings ratio based on 2021 estimates climbed from 22.3 to 22.6, and its yield declined from 1.56% to 1.53% -- and, for every $11.11 dollars that TSLA shares move, the S&P 500 will change by 1 point. As an example of what means: If TSLA dips 21%, like it did back on Sept. 8, that alone would cause a 0.2% decline in the S&P 500 if all the index's other components were flat.

WHERE IS BITCOIN HEADED? Just last week, the cryptocurrency market reached a couple of milestones. Coinbase, the biggest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, revealed on Dec. 17 it has filed confidentially with the SEC to go public. And the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) announced last week that it will launch a futures contract on ether, the world’s second-largest digital currency by market value, in February 2021. CME launched a futures contract on bitcoin three years ago.

Bitcoin has surged more than 370% since its 12-month low on March 16. The cryptocurrency bested its December 2017 peak on Nov. 30, when it topped $19,800. The digital currency has continued to rally in December, surpassing $24,000 recently. Bitcoin remains very volatile and primarily driven by speculation rather than fundamentals. Nevertheless, many Wall Street firms have taken a greater interest in crypto this year, with many seeking to capitalize on its gains as rock-bottom interest rates have become the norm across the globe.

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