Thursday November 12th


Dow futures fall more than 200 points as vaccine market rally pauses

U.S. stock index futures were mixed in early Thursday morning trading as markets continued to churn following big gains earlier in the week. Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 203 points, or 0.7%. S&P 500 futures slipped 0.4% and Nasdaq 100 futures were marginally higher. The move in futures came after the market bucked its recent trend on Wednesday, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite leading while cyclicals and small caps lagged. The Dow slipped 23 points after adding nearly 1,100 in the two previous sessions. The Dow is still up 3.8% for the week. Earlier in the week, stocks dependent on an economic recovery rallied, sparked by an announcement from Pfizer and BioNTech that the companies’ Covid-19 vaccine candidate appeared to be more than 90% effective in its phase three trial. More positive news on the vaccine front could come soon, as Moderna announced on Wednesday evening that its phase-three trial had accrued enough cases of the coronavirus to submit the preliminary results to an independent safety monitoring board. The positive news for vaccines comes amid a worrying rise in Covid-19 cases across the country. The United States has now confirmed more than 10 million cases of the virus and some areas, including New York City and San Francisco, have announced new economic restrictions in an attempt to slow the spread. The rally for equities after the Pfizer news followed a strong election week for stocks, which saw the S&P 500 rise more than 7%. Rick Rieder, head of the global allocation team at BlackRock, said on “Closing Bell” that he expected stocks to continue to rise through the end of the year, though he expected trading to be choppy. He also said he expected the economic recovery to continue despite the rise in Covid-19 cases. “The Fed is going to stay in this accommodative mode for a period of time,” Rieder said. “When you put that much stimulus in, you put that much liquidity in, and then you add fiscal stimulus ... the economy will actually do pretty well.” Investors will also be looking at new data on the economic recovery on Thursday morning. The Labor Department is slated to release jobless claims data for last week before the opening bell, and economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect 740,000 claims. New inflation data will also be released before the markets open in New York. Stocks in Asia-Pacific struggled for direction on Thursday as tech shares in the region bounced from recent declines. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.68% higher at 25,520.88 while the Topix index ended its trading day 0.16% lower at 1,726.23. In South Korea, the Kospi shed 0.41% to close at 2,475.62. Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite dipping 0.11% to around 3,338.68 while the Shenzhen component gained 0.524% to about 13,792.07. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 0.22 to finish its trading day at 26,169.38. Oil prices held steady on Thursday as traders tempered expectations of an early release of a COVID-19 vaccine and the IEA raised doubts about a quick demand rebound amid surging infections in Europe and the United States. Brent crude was up 8 cents, or 0.2%, at $43.88 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 10 cents, or 0.2%, to $41.55 a barrel. Gold rose on Thursday as market optimism over a potential COVID-19 vaccine gave way to concerns over the logistics of its eventual roll-out, though prices were underpinned by expectations of further monetary stimulus. Spot gold was up 0.3% at $1,871.00 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were 0.3% higher at $1,867.