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S&P 500 Futures Rise on Vaccine Boost

S&P 500 and the Dow futures rose on Thursday on hopes for a swift roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine. The boost took the focus off a report that is likely to show a rise in weekly jobless claims.

A panel of medical experts are set to meet later in the day to decide on a recommendation. That is for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to receive emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Some officials said vaccinations could begin this weekend if the FDA approved. Shares in Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) rose 0.4% before the bell.

In the past few weeks, Wall Street’s main indexes have scaled record highs. Investors bet on a vaccine-linked economic recovery and shrugged off glum macroeconomic data showing the near-term impact from lockdowns.

The weekly jobless claims report should be ready at 8:30 a.m. ET on Thursday. It’s expected to show 725,000 applications for the week ended Dec. 5, compared with 712,000 the previous week.

Investors are also watching out for signs of more fiscal stimulus to expedite the labor market’s recovery.

On Wednesday, U.S. lawmakers approved a stopgap government funding bill that would provide more time for negotiations. However, an agreement has remained elusive due to conflicts over aid to state and local governments, and business liability protection.

Analysts at Standard Chartered (OTC:SCBFF) Bank wrote, the worsening pandemic in late 2020 calls for a new crisis package. They think Congress will agree on additional spending by then, but it is a close call. 

Stocks on the Move

Dow E-minis rose 41 points, or 0.14% at 06:50 a.m. ET. Moreover, S&P 500 E-minis climbed 2 points, or 0.05%. Nasdaq 100 E-minis fell 15.5 points or 0.13%.

Global market sentiment was a little more downbeat. This came after S&P Dow Jones Indices said it would remove 10 Chinese companies from its equities indices. It followed a Trump administration order to prohibit purchases by U.S. investors of certain Chinese securities.

Among individual stocks, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) was down 1%, extending falls from the previous session.

The Federal Trade Commission and nearly every U.S. state filed lawsuits against the social media company. As a possible result, it could be forced to sell its prized assets WhatsApp and Instagram. 

Meanwhile, in other stock market news, a German court has rejected a bid by environmentalists to halt tree cutting. This is at Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s proposed manufacturing site near Berlin. It’s paving the way for the electric carmaker to proceed with plans to finalise the construction of its Gigafactory.

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