Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Wall Street looks higher ahead of jobs report, after more records
U.S. stock futures were steady Friday, ahead of the Labor Department's 8:30 a.m. ET release of its latest jobs report. The S&P 500 on Thursday closed at a record for the fifth straight session, extending its winning streak to six trading days. The Nasdaq also closed at a record for five straight sessions, riding a nine-trading day winning streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped slightly Thursday, ending its latest string of record closes at four sessions and its winning streak at five. All three stock benchmarks were tracking for strong weekly gains as investors took the Federal Reserve's tapering plan for its massive Covid-era bond buying in stride and found solace in the central bank's patient stance on raising interest rates.
2. Hiring is expected to have picked up in October, wages too
Economists expect 450,000 nonfarm jobs were added last month, forecasting a pick up in hiring as new Covid cases receded and the economy improved. That would be up sharply from September's disappointing 194,000. The nation's unemployment rate is seen dipping to 4.7% in October. Hourly wages are expected to rise by 4.9% on a year-over-year basis. That would be up from September's 4.6% advance. Wage inflation will be closely watched to see whether it remains elevated. The Fed said Wednesday it continues to view inflation as transitory. However, stronger wages could make the case for a rate increase sooner than expected. The futures market is pricing in the first Fed rate hike for July.
3. Pfizer says its Covid pill with HIV drug cuts risk of serious illness
Pfizer said Friday its oral Covid pill, administered in combination with a widely used HIV drug, cut the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% in high-risk adults who've been exposed to the coronavirus. The company's shares jumped 11% in the premarket. The Pfizer candidate is now the second antiviral pill behind one from Merck to demonstrate strong effectiveness for treating Covid at the first sign of illness. Merck shares fell 9% in the premarket.
If cleared by U.S. health regulators, these pills would likely be game changers in the ongoing global pandemic fight. Pfizer plans to submit its data to the Food and Drug Administration “as soon as possible.” The antiviral pill made by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics was approved by Britain's medicines regulator on Thursday. Later this month, U.S. regulators are set to evaluate Merck's request for emergency use of its Covid drug.
4. Peloton shares sink on slow sales growth, wider quarterly loss
Shares of Peloton plunged more than 30% in Friday's premarket, the morning after the maker of connected exercise equipment reported weakening sales growth and a wider-than-expected loss in its fiscal first quarter. Peloton cut its outlook for the full fiscal year due to softening demand, ongoing supply chain challenges, and competition from other at-home fitness options and people going back to gyms like Planet Fitness. Peloton did count 2.49 million connected fitness subscribers at the end of the three-month period, up 87% year over year. Connected fitness subscribers are those who own a Peloton bike or treadmill and also pay a monthly fee to access the company's digital workout content.
5. Biden’s big spending bill on brink of House vote, but fights remain
Democrats in the House appear on the verge of advancing President Joe Biden‘s $1.85 trillion-and-growing domestic policy package of social and climate spending, alongside a separate $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which was already passed in a bipartisan vote in the Senate. The House scrapped votes late Thursday but hoped to pass the bills Friday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., worked into the night at the Capitol, looking to lock down support. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation said Thursday its initial analysis of the bigger bill showed it would raise $1.48 trillion in revenue over a decade and be unlikely to add to the deficit long term.
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