Thursday, October 21, 2021

Wall Street set to open higher on deal hunt, Merck boost

Wall Street’s main indexes were set to rise on Friday as heavy losses in September led investors to buy into cheaper sectors, while drugmaker Merck marked progress in development of an oral COVID-19 drug.

Shares of Merck & Co Inc., the company’s experimental oral drug for COVID-19, molnupiravir, fell premarket after the company’s experimental oral drug for COVID-19, mollupiravir, reduced the likelihood of hospitalization or death by nearly 50 percent for patients at risk for serious illness in a study. Trading jumped 8.3 percent.

COVID-19 vaccine makers Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc fell 4.4 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively, after the news.

Wall Street eased sharply on Thursday and the S&P 500 posted its worst month since the start of the global health crisis, stoked by concerns over COVID-19, inflation fears and budget wrangling in Washington. Wasted quarter after quarter.

“There are few options for investors because they are somewhat negative on the bond market and cash is still (yielding) very low returns,” said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments, a family investment office in New Vernon, New Jersey. .

“Investors are still looking for places to enter the market. There is still good support among buyers at lower prices, so I don’t think the market’s ability to rally in favor of a meaningful sell-off is over.

Data shows US consumer spending rose higher than expected in August, while the personal consumption spending index, the preferred inflation gauge for the Federal Reserve, maintained its upward trend during the month.

Oil firms including Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp added about 0.5 percent, while big banks Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs Group also gained.

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Meanwhile, the Democratic-controlled US Congress on Friday struggled to reach an agreement on President Joe Biden’s broad agenda, with Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi vowing to vote on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill .

Biden signed off on a measure to continue funding the government until December 3, though congressional Democrats and Republicans continued to dispute over raising the debt limit to more than $28.4 trillion to prevent US credit defaults.

All eyes are now on factory activity data for signs of economic health and clues about the Federal Reserve reducing its asset purchases and raising key interest rates.

At 8:48 a.m. ET, the Dow e-minis were up 84 points, or 0.25 percent, the S&P 500 e-minis were up 8.25 points, or 0.19 percent, and the Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.03 percent.

The S&P 500 closed below its 100-day moving average (DMA), a closely watched technical indicator for the first time since November 2020. All three major Wall Street indices are trading below their 100-DMA.

The bitcoin halving prompted a rally in cryptocurrency-linked stocks after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the United States has no plans to ban cryptocurrencies.

Coty Inc rose 5.1 percent after agreeing to sell a ~9 percent stake in professional beauty business Wella to KKR & Co Inc.

By Devik Jain and Amber Warrick

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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