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US STOCKS-Futures perk up on vaccine hopes as stimulus stand-off weighs

Credit: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI

U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday as Pfizer said it could apply for emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate as early as November, shaking off worries over a stand-off in Washington on more fiscal aid.

By Medha Singh

Oct 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday as Pfizer said it could apply for emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate as early as November, shaking off worries over a stand-off in Washington on more fiscal aid.

The drugmaker's shares PFE.N firmed 1% in premarket trading after it said it would file for U.S. emergency approval of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate being developed along with Germany's BioNTech SE 22UAy.F as soon as a safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November.

BioNTech's U.S.-listed shares BNTX.O jumped 2.4%.

Trading on Wall Street this week has been dictated by news about more federal aid to help businesses and households reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the S&P 500 on track for its smallest weekly gains in three.

Talks between Democrats and Republicans seemed unlikely to yield a deal before the Nov. 3 election at a time when data has underscored a struggling labor market and a stalling economic recovery.

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will return to the campaign trail with visits to three battleground states, a day after the two contenders clashed from afar during dueling televised town halls.

Meanwhile, after a mixed start to the third-quarter earnings season from the big Wall Street lenders, investors will look next week to results from Netflix Inc NFLX.O, one of the technology mega-caps that have benefited from stay-at-home demand during the pandemic.

Analysts' expectations for S&P 500 companies' earnings have improved to an 18.8% fall from a 25% tumble forecast three months earlier.

Schlumberger SLB.N dipped 0.4% ahead of its results scheduled before the opening bell.

At 6:35 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 55 points, or 0.19%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 6.5 points, or 0.19%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 34.25 points, or 0.29%.

Gilead Sciences Inc GILD.O slipped 1.3% as a World Health Organization study concluded its COVID-19 drug remdesivir does not help patients who have been admitted to hospital. Gilead has questioned the findings of the study.

Boeing Co BA.N rose 3.3% as a report said Europe's aviation regulator had declared the U.S. planemaker's 737 MAX safe to fly again.

(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

((Medha.Singh@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1646 223 8780, outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2802; Twitter: https://twitter.com/medhasinghs))

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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