1. Wall Street under pressure heading into Friday trading
Losses in U.S. stock futures accelerated Friday morning, one day after Wall Street closed higher as strength in tech stocks offset concerns about weekly initial jobless claims rising back above 1 million. The Nasdaq saw the biggest gains of over 1% and another record high.
The S&P 500 finished just over 4 points from Tuesday’s record, which wiped out the crushing coronavirus crisis market losses that reached a pandemic low on March 23. The Dow Jones Industrial Average remained about 6% away from its Feb. 12 record closing high.
2. Shares of Tesla, Apple close at historic levels
Shares of Tesla rose 1% in Friday’s premarket trading after their first-ever close $2,000. Friday is the last day investors have to become stockholders of record before the electric auto maker’s 5-for-1 stock split. The split actually happens after the close next Friday, with shares starting to trade on a split-adjusted basis on Aug. 31.
Apple, which briefly surpassed a $2 trillion stock market value on Wednesday, closed Thursday above that threshold and was poised to add those gains Friday. It only took the iPhone maker just over two years to double from $1 trillion. Shares in Apple’s 4-for-1 stock split will be distributed to shareholders at the close Monday, with trading to begin on a split-adjusted basis on Aug. 31.
3. Biden accepts nomination, pledges to serve ‘all Americans’
Joe Biden closed out this week’s virtual Democratic National Convention by accepting his party’s nomination and pledging to serve all Americans, even those who don’t vote for him. In his speech, Biden sought to project stability, humanity and trustworthiness — qualities he portrayed as the antidote to the status quo. He never mentioned President Donald Trump by name, in contrast with searing speeches this week by former President Barack Obama and others. Trump responded to Biden’s speech with a tweet, claiming that “in 47 years, Joe did none of the things of which he now speaks.” The virtual Republican National Convention begins Monday.
4. Pfizer-BioNTech reveal Covid-19 vaccine timetable
In this May 4, 2020 photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the first patient enrolled in Pfizer’s COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, receives an injection.University of Maryland School of Medicine | AP
U.S.-based Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech announced they’re on track to seek regulatory review of their coronavirus vaccine candidate as early as October. The drugmakers said studies are showing promising safety and immune response data. If approved, the companies plan to supply up to 100 million doses worldwide by the end of the year and about 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021. Shares of BioNTech, already up 95% this year, rose 5% in Friday’s premarket. Pfizer shares, basically flat in 2020, saw a 1% premarket gain.
Deaths in the U.S. attributed to the coronavirus will likely begin to drop over the next week, according to Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Daily new cases of the coronavirus have been on a sustained decline since the end of July. As of Friday morning, total Covid-19 cases in the U.S. approached 5.6 million with over 174,000 fatalities.
5. Appeals court grants Uber and Lyft a temporary reprieve
A ride share driver picks up passengers at O’Hare Airport on April 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.Scott Olson / Getty Images
A California appeals court extended the length of time for Uber and Lyft to comply with an order requiring them to reclassify drivers as employees. Shares of both companies, which gained about 6% on Thursday’s news, were little changed in Friday’s premarket. As a result, Uber and Lyft said they would continue operating in California during the stay after threatening to suspend service.
Uber and Lyft are backing a ballot measure to exempt their drivers from the state’s new labor law. Voters will have the opportunity to decide on that question on Election Day.