Stocks pull back as lack of stimulus and Brexit deals overshadow more positive vaccine news
Stock futures were weaker in early morning trading as sentiment was dented by the lack of a Brexit deal and the inability of Washington lawmakers to agree upon another round of stimulus. So far disappointment over stimulus and Brexit have been overshadowing news that the FDA said it will grant emergency use authorization to the COVID-19 vaccine developed by partners Pfizer and BioNTech and trading may be choppy into the weekend given the push and pull of the good and bad news.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Producer Price Index edged up 0.1% in November for both the headline and core readings. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index climbed 4.5 points to 81.4 in the preliminary December reading, which was better than expected.
Data from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering shows there are now 69.83M confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, including 15.65M in the U.S., and 1.59M deaths due to the disease, including about 293,000 in the U.S.
TOP NEWS: The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, an FDA panel, recommended the approval of Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech's (BNTX) COVID-19 vaccine candidate for emergency use in people over 16 years old. The panel voted 17-4, with one abstention, in favor that the known benefits of the shot outweighed the risks. FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn and Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, later issued a statement saying the agency will "rapidly work toward" finalizing and issuing an emergency use authorization for the vaccine.
In other COVID-19 news, shares of Sanofi (SNY) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) trading in New York fell 4% and 1%, respectively, after the companies announced a delay in their adjuvanted recombinant protein-based COVID-19 vaccine program to improve immune response in older adults.
Disney (DIS) shares have surged 13% higher after the media giant's investor day presentation, during which it reported over 137M subscribers across its direct-to-consumer portfolio as of December 2, including 86.8M Disney+ subscribers. As a result of the high number of users after just one year, the company raised its guidance for Disney+ subscribers by fiscal 2024 to 230M-260M from its previous view of 60M-90M. During the presentation, Disney highlighted a number of its future projects that will launch exclusively on its DTC platforms, including ten new "Star Wars" projects, ten new Marvel projects, and more live action and animated Disney and Pixar films and series.
In earnings news, shares of Oracle (ORCL) were 1% higher near noon after the company reported better than expected second quarter results, with cloud services and license support revenues rising 4% year-over-year to $7.1B. Looking ahead, the company provided upbeat guidance for the third quarter.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Solid Biosciences (SLDB), which rose 26% after entering into a securities purchase agreement for a $90M private placement. Also higher was Ardelyx (ARDX), which gained 15% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Seritage Growth Properties (SRG), which declined 13% after announcing that Benjamin Schall, the company's CEO, president and trustee is resigning from his role to pursue another opportunity. Also lower were Lululemon (LULU) and Broadcom (AVGO), which fell a respective 6% and 2% after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 114.16, or 0.38%, to 29,885.10, the Nasdaq was down 149.81, or 1.21%, to 12,255.99, and the S&P 500 was down 30.87, or 0.84%, to 3,637.23.