What to Watch Today: Investors Assess Vaccine News Against Covid-19 Case Spikes



U.S. stock futures pointed to a mixed open Friday, in an investor sentiment tug-of-war between more encouraging Covid vaccine news and skyrocketing infections. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, as of Thursday's close, was up more than 11% in November. (CNBC)

Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) said they'll apply with the FDA on Friday for emergency use authorization for their vaccine, the first to go through the regulatory process. At the same time, the U.S. on Thursday recorded coronavirus cases of 187,883, by far the nation's single-worst day during the pandemic.

Two Covid stimulus developments are also being assessed on Wall Street. First Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin decided to cut the Fed's lending power, although the decision could be reversed. Second, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has agreed to resume negotiations over a potential new coronavirus relief bill, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said. (CNBC)

* Evans says Fed programs are important backstop, disappointed by Treasury’s move to stop some funding (CNBC)


The FDA's consideration of the Pfizer-BioNTech application for emergency use of their Covid-19 vaccine could take weeks. An advisory committee meeting has been tentatively scheduled for early December. If the FDA approves, the vaccine will likely be limited and rolled out in phases based on risk. (CNBC)

The FDA approved the emergency use of Eli Lilly's arthritis drug baricitinib, in combination with Gilead Sciences' antiviral drug remdesivir, to treat Covid patients. Baricitinib, sold under the brand name of Olumiant, is an FDA-approved oral medication to treat moderate-to-severe active rheumatoid arthritis. (Reuters)

In stark contrast to U.S. regulatory guidance, a World Health Organization panel advised doctors Thursday against using remdesivir as a treatment for patients hospitalized with Covid, saying there is currently "no evidence" that it improves survival or shortens recovery time. (CNBC)

The CDC is advising Americans not to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, citing concern about crowds of people waiting around for planes, trains and buses. The CDC said Thanksgiving celebrations should be limited only to those people living in the same household for 14 days. (CNBC)

* Coronavirus cases on college campuses spike, linked to parties (CNBC)
* Covid reinfection 'highly unlikely' for at least six months, Oxford study says (CNBC)

California is imposing an overnight curfew for nearly all residents. What officials are calling a limited stay-at-home order requires people who are not on essential errands to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., starting Saturday. The order will last until Dec. 21 but could be extended if disease trends don't improve. (AP)

President Donald Trump and his allies are taking increasingly frantic steps to challenge the results of the 2020 election, including summoning Michigan state legislators to the White House as part of a longshot bid to overturn Joe Biden's victory. (AP)

* Biden team belittles 'spectacle' of sweaty Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani pushing vote fraud conspiracy claims (CNBC)

A hand tally of ballots cast in Georgia for the presidential race affirmed on Thursday Biden's narrow lead over Trump. Wisconsin on Friday will begin recounts in the state's two biggest and most Democratic counties. The Trump campaign paid a required $3 million fee for the recount. (AP)

* Trump administration to release new rules aimed at reducing drug costs (WSJ)
* New York investigates Trump consulting payments that reduced his taxes (AP)
* Biden turns 78 today, which will make him the oldest U.S. president (AP)

GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of General Electric (GE), announced Friday it is acquiring Swedish start-up Prismatic Sensors AB, bolstering its key medical imaging business. GE Healthcare said the start-up's technology offers sharper images with fewer doses of radiation to patients. (CNBC)

BuzzFeed has agreed to acquire Verizon Media's HuffPost in a stock deal, uniting two of the larger players in digital media as companies across the sector search for ways to jump-start growth. Under the pact, the companies will syndicate each other's content. (WSJ)


FireEye (FEYE) is receiving a strategic investment from private-equity firm Blackstone (BX) and venture capital firm ClearSky. The firms will purchase $400 million in the cybersecurity firm's convertible preferred stock, which is convertible into FireEye common shares at a price of $18 per share. FireEye closed Thursday at $14.24 per share. FireEye shares jumped 13% in premarket trading.

Foot Locker (FL) earned $1.21 per share for its latest quarter, compared to a consensus estimate of 63 cents a share. Revenue beat estimates as well, while same-store sales rose 7.7%. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected comparable-store sales to drop by 1.2%.

Hibbett Sports (HIBB), an athletic footwear and apparel, retailer posted quarterly earnings of $1.47 per share, more than triple the consensus estimate of 45 cents per share. Revenue also exceeded forecasts, with a same-store sales increase of 21%. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv had expected a comparable store increase of 7.5%.

Fashion accessories retailer The Buckle (BKE) beat estimates by 30 cents a share, with quarterly earnings of 85 cents per share. Revenue beat estimates as well, helped by a 72.5% surge in online sales.

Workday (WDAY) reported quarterly earnings of 86 cents per share, 19 cents a share above estimates. Revenue topped estimates as well. The maker of human resources and finance-focused cloud software also raised its subscription revenue outlook for 2021, but also issued warnings about the lingering impact of the pandemic on its results.

Ross Stores (ROST) earned $1.02 per share for its latest quarter, well above the 61 cents a share consensus estimate. The discount retailer's revenue also beat Wall Street forecasts. Comparable-store sales fell by 3%, but that was a much smaller decline than the 12.6% drop predicted by analysts.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM)reported quarterly earnings of $2.56 per share, well above the consensus estimate of $1.53 a share. The housewares retailer's revenue beat estimates as well. Digital sales jumped 49% and the company reported record operating profit margins.

Intuit (INTU) reported quarterly profit of 94 cents per share, nearly tripling the consensus estimate of 37 cents a share. The maker of TurboTax and other financial software's revenue came in above forecasts.


Walt Disney (DIS) is mulling moving the debut of more films from theaters to its Disney+ streaming service, according to a Deadline report. The films are said to include "Pinocchio," "Peter Pan" and "Cruella."

* Op-ed: Will audiences return to the movies? They already have, Imax CEO says

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