Apple Leads Big-Tech Slump With Worst Drop Since November

New York State Reports First Case of U.K. Covid-19 Variant

New York state has found its first case of the U.K. variant of coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

A man in his 60s who lives in Saratoga County in upstate New York tested positive for the B117 variant, Cuomo said. The man had not traveled recently, which suggests it was the result of community spread, Cuomo said on a conference call.

The state has done about 5,000 tests looking for the new strain, Cuomo said. The new strain is more transmittable, he said, which could be a problem as the state deals with rising hospitalizations.

The man is affiliated with N. Fox Jewelers, a store in Saratoga Springs, and there are three other coronavirus cases stemming from the store, Cuomo said. The state is still testing whether those cases are also B117.

The store was closed from Dec. 24 through New Year’s, but the state is asking anyone who was at the store between Dec. 18 and Dec. 24 to get tested.

Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower As OPEC Defers Decision On Output

Crude oil futures ended sharply lower on Monday amid concerns over outlook for energy demand and on news about the Oragnization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies’ failure to reach an agreement on crude output.

The OPEC and allies, including Russia, will now meet again on Tuesday to decide whether they can continue to restore crude supplies without capsizing the price recovery.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for February ended down $0.90 or about 1.9% at $47.62 a barrel.

OPEC+ raised output by 500,000 barrels per day this month. However, some members are against further increasing output from next month due to the surge in coronavirus cases.

Several states in the U.S. reported spikes in new coronavirus cases over the weekend. According to data from the Johns Hopkins University, 210,479 new cases were reported across the country in the 24 hours leading to Monday morning.

The national average Covid test positivity rate rose to 13.52%.

In the U.K., the National Health Service (NHS) began rolling out the Oxford University vaccine developed by AstraZeneca as protection against Covid-19 on Monday. Six hospitals in England will administer the first of around 530,000 doses of the vaccine.

Gold Futures Settle Sharply Higher As Dollar Tumbles

Gold prices rose sharply on Monday, lifting the most actively traded futures contract to their highest close in about two months, as the dollar fell to a 2-1/2-year low.

An agreement on the long-awaited U.S. coronavirus relief bill, and expectations of further stimulus amid the continued surge in coronavirus cases weighed on dollar.

The dollar index, which tumbled to 89.42 in the Asian session, recovered to 89.94 later on in the day.

Gold futures for February ended up $51.50 or about 2.7% at $1,946.60 an ounce, the highest settlement since November 6. In percentage terms, the day’s gains were the largest single-session returns more than eight months.

Silver futures for March closed higher by $0.950 or about 3.6% at $27.364 an ounce, while Copper futures settled at $3.5545 per pound, gaining about 1%.

Investors are on the lookout for Tuesday’s runoff elections in the U.S. state of Georgia that will decide the control of the Senate.

Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s December meeting will be released on Wednesday, with investors looking for fresh guidance on its asset purchases.

Sylvester Stallone spends $35M on Palm Beach mansion

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Rocky is soaking up the sun in Florida.

Movie titan Sylvester Stallone has snatched up a Palm Beach estate for $35 million.

The Bermuda-style mansion spans more-than 13,200 square-foot and has seven bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, according to Robb Report, a luxury lifestyle magazine.

The Hollywood action star’s mansion has a large living room space with floor to ceiling windows, and a state of the art kitchen with designer appliances.

Up in the master bedroom, there are gorgeous water views and has a bedroom-sized walk-in-closet, according to the magazine.

The property also has a separate guesthouse and a pool pavilion.

The Palm Beach Post reported the compound was sold to Stallone in December.

Stallone’s neighbors now include rockers Jon Bon Jovi and Rod Stewart, and radio and television personality Howard Stern.

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Apple Leads Big-Tech Slump With Worst Drop Since November

Apple Inc. led shares of the largest technology companies lower in the first trading day of the year, suffering its worst decline in more than a month amid a broad market sell-off.

Shares of the iPhone maker fell as much as 4.5% on Monday before recovering some of the losses to close down 2.5% at $129.41. The decline was the biggest since Nov. 23. Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. both fell more than 2%, compared with a 1.5% decline in the S&P 500 Index.

The U.S. equity market sank on Monday after ending 2020 at an all-time high. Technology megacaps including Apple and Amazon, which were among the top performers last year, were particularly hard hit in the sell-off, which was driven by concern that a surge in coronavirus cases could crimp the nascent economic recovery.

Apple was the best performing-stock in the group in 2020 aftergrowing optimism about device and services sales helped fuel a December surge that cemented its lead over Amazon with an 81% gain. Amazon ended the year with a 76% gain.