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US STOCKS-Futures flat after jobless claims data; drugmakers extend fall

Credit: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

U.S. stocks were set for a subdued open on Thursday after data showed weekly jobless claims fell more than expected, while vaccine makers came under pressure after President Joe Biden's plan to back intellectual property waivers on COVID-19 shots.

By Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar

May 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set for a subdued open on Thursdayafter data showed weekly jobless claims fell more than expected, while vaccine makers came under pressure after President Joe Biden's plan to back intellectual property waivers on COVID-19 shots.

Shares in Pfizer Inc PFE.N, Moderna Inc MRNA.O, Johnson & Johnson JNJ.N and Novavax Inc NVAX.O, all involved in the making of COVID-19 vaccines, fell between 0.8% and 9.2% in premarket trading.

The declines were triggered after Biden said he had backed a World Trade Organization waiver for vaccine intellectual property to enhance the fight against the pandemic.

Moderna also raised its 2021 sales forecast for its COVID-19 vaccine, reflecting demand from countries looking to return to normalcy through rapid inoculation.

"It could clearly reduce potential revenues some of these firms were expecting to generate from licensing their patents," said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI ended at a record high in the previous session, supported by a rise in economically sensitive cyclical stocks, while the Nasdaq was hit by declines in growth stocks.

Shares of highly valued technology-related stocks like Microsoft Corp MSFT.O, Apple Inc AAPL.O, Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O and Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O were trading flat to slightly lower.

A Labor Department report showed fewer Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week as the labor market recovery gains steam amid an economic boom.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits totaled a seasonally adjusted 498,000 for the week ended May 1 compared to 590,000 in the prior week.

Investors are awaiting the more comprehensive non-farm payrolls data on Friday to get clues on strength of the labor market and potentially the U.S. Federal Reserve's stance on monetary policy.

"The Fed is looking at more jobs created before they think there will be an issue and we are very far away from that," said Arthur Weise, chief investment officer at Kingsland Growth Advisors in New York.

At 8:50 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 41 points, or 0.12%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 1 point, or 0.02%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 3 points, or 0.02%.

Among other stocks, ViacomCBS Inc VIACA.O rose 4.1% after reporting quarterly revenue that beat Wall Street estimates.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc REGN.Oedged 0.4% higher after the drugmaker reported a 78% rise in first-quarter profit, helped by a robust recovery in demand for its eye drug Eylea.

Uber Technologies Inc UBER.N fell 3.6% as it signaled it would pay drivers more to get cars back on the road and disclosed a $600 million charge to provide UK drivers with benefits.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Joice Alves in London; Editing by Maju Samuel)

((Shreyashi.Sanyal@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8780; +91 961 144 3740; Twitter: https://twitter.com/s_shreyashi;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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