U.S. stocks ended the session mixed on Friday but still managed to post a third straight week of gains. A strong retail sales report combined with hopeful news on a COVID-19 vaccine helped outweigh stimulus concerns.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 112 points or 0.4%, while the S&P 500 was little changed up 0.2%, both rising for the third straight week. The Nasdaq dipped by 0.3% but clocked its fourth straight weekly gain.
|I:DJI||DOW JONES AVERAGES||31500.68||+823.32||+2.68%|
|I:COMP||NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX||11607.620416||+375.43||+3.34%|
Pfizer Inc. said it could apply for emergency use of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine being co-developed with BioNTech SA as soon as the third week of November – once it has received at least two months of safety data as required by the Food and Drug Administration. The company had previously said the data might be ready even sooner -- in October. In other vaccine news, Gilead Sciences Inc. is disputing a World Health Organization study that found its antiviral drug remdesivir had “little or no effect on mortality” of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
|GILD||GILEAD SCIENCES INC.||63.08||+0.50||+0.80%|
|CVS||CVS HEALTH CORP.||94.78||+2.46||+2.66%|
|WBA||WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE INC.||41.65||+0.76||+1.86%|
Looking at the economy, retail sales rose 1.9% month-over-month in September, outpacing the 0.7% increase that was expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. Excluding autos, sales rose 1.5% versus August, ahead of the 0.5% gain that was anticipated.
Stocks held onto gains even after top White House Economic advisor Larry Kudlow told FOX Business it would be "almost impossible" to execute a coronavirus relief package before the November election, even if Congress overcame a monthslong impasse and struck a deal.
|GM||GENERAL MOTORS CO.||34.83||+1.89||+5.74%|
|F||FORD MOTOR CO.||12.02||+0.47||+4.07%|
|BA||THE BOEING CO.||141.55||+7.61||+5.68%|
Elsewhere, Dow component Boeing Co.’s 737 Max aircraft could return to the skies in Europe before the end of 2020 after receiving regulatory approval. The jet was grounded in March 2019 following two deadly crashes that killed all 346 people aboard.
Meanwhile, Twitter Inc. shares edged higher after the social media company tweaked its policy on hacked content following backlash for its handling of two New York Post stories on Hunter Biden and his purported emails about business dealings in China and Ukraine. The company said it will now label such content to provide context and only remove it if found to be “directly shared by hackers.”
Looking at earnings, oilfield services provider Schlumberger posted a third consecutive quarterly loss as stubbornly low oil prices discouraged customers from drilling and resulted in a 38% year-over-year sales decline.
Looking at commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 8 cents to $40.88 per barrel, and gold slipped $2.40 to $1,900.80 an ounce.
U.S. Treasurys were little changed, with the yield on the 10-year note holding near 0.743%.