Stocks end lower as lack of stimulus, Brexit deals overshadow 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. Disappointment over stimulus and Brexit overshadowed news that the FDA said it expects to grant emergency use authorization to the COVID-19 vaccine developed by partners Pfizer and BioNTech. The averages cut their losses as the session continued as a big jump in Disney shares based on a positive reception to its streaming service announcements helped push the Dow into positive ground.
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. In other COVID-19 news, New York Govenror Andrew Cuomo announced that New York City will have to shut down indoor dining on Monday as hospitalizations in the city have not stabilized.
In Capitol Hill news, CNBC reported that the U.S. Senate has passed a one-week government funding extension as lawmakers seek to reach spending and COVID-19 aid deals. The bill will go to President Donald Trump, who needs to sign it into law before Saturday in order to avert a government shutdown, CNBC noted.
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. Subsequently, the Washington Post reported that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn to submit his resignation if the agency does not approve Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine by the end of the day, though the FDA told Bloomberg that any report of a threat to fire Hahn is "untrue."
In other COVID-19 news, shares of Sanofi (SNY) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) trading in New York fell 3.8% 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 surged 13.6% 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) closed almost 2% higher 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 Lordstown Motors (RIDE), which rose 7.8% after Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Delaney initiated coverage of the stock with a Buy rating and $31 price target. Also higher was Ardelyx (ARDX), which gained 13.2% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Qualcomm (QCOM), which declined 7.4% after Bloomberg reported that Apple (AAPL) has started building its own cellular modem to be used in future devices. Also lower were Lululemon (LULU) and Broadcom (AVGO), which fell a respective 6.7% and 1% after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: The Dow rose 47.11, or 0.16%, to 30,046.37, the Nasdaq lost 27.94, or 0.23%, to 12,377.87, and the S&P 500 declined 4.64, or 0.13%, to 3,663.46.