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ADP Misses, Biden to be Patient on China, UK Approves Pfizer Vaccine

US stocks held onto losses after the ADP employment report showed the labor market slowdown continues. It is hard to get excited stocks given the elevated levels and uncertainty over how much stimulus Congress will be able to deliver before the end of the year. Traders remain focused on whether the Thanksgiving holiday provides a spike in new cases and hospitalizations. The likelihood of further restrictive measures in the US over the next couple of months seems high and that could be the tipping point for Congress to act.

The FTSE 100 is outperforming in Europe after Pfizer-BioNTech got the greenlight for the COVID-19 vaccine, with immunizations starting next week. The rest of Europe is in risk aversion mode, with the DAX and FTSE MIB leading the decline.

ADP nonfarm payrolls miss forecast

The private payroll report was not weak enough to really move the needle for Congress to act swiftly in providing immediate relief. ADP’s employment change in November rose 307,000, less than the consensus estimate of 430,000 and lower than the revised prior reading of 404,000. The ADP survey was taken after a surge in weekly jobless claims, so even though the private report has recently under-delivered job hiring compared to the non-farm payroll report, Friday’s main event could provide a soft reading.

Digging deeper into the ADP report, small and medium businesses showed steady job hiring, while large businesses jobs were cut in half to 58,000. The ADP commented that the pace of employment gains continues to slow, although job growth remains positive across all industries.

Biden pledges patience with China

The Biden administration has made it clear they will take a patient stance with China. In a New York Times interview, President-elect Biden noted he won’t sign trade deals before investing at home. Biden will not immediately remove the 25% Trump tariffs and that he will conduct a full review of the existing strategy before unveiling his plan. Biden will be calculated in what his next move is with China, but it seems clear it will not be immediate.