Stock futures pare losses after Gilead says remdesivir treatment reduces Covid-19 death risk

Stock futures pared losses Friday morning after Gilead Sciences said in a statement that its remdesivir treatment reduced the risk of death for Covid-19 patients, based on new data from the company. Gilead shares rose more than 2% in pre-market trading.

Still, virus fears lingered in both the US and abroad. Hong Kong said it was et to close schools again starting on Monday, following a new batch of infections in the region. Mexico saw a record number of new cases to overtake Spain – once a global epicenter of the virus – for overall cases. Major equity indices in Asia closed out Friday’s session lower.

Earlier signs that the outbreak was worsening still more in the South and West further stoked a further risk-off mood in markets. California, Florida and Texas each posted record one-day new coronavirus deaths as of Thursday. Crude oil prices (CL=F) extended their decline in early trading after posting their biggest drop in two weeks earlier Thursday at more than 3%. Investors piled into the relative safety of the bond market, and the benchmark 10-year yield fell to the lowest level since mid-April.

A day earlier, the S&P 500 and Dow closed out Thursday’s session lower, while the Nasdaq Composite powered to yet another record high. Each of Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Microsoft hit record closing levels again on Thursday, with investors crowding further into tech and software names viewed as most likely to recover strongly in the wake of the pandemic.

Thursday’s session widened the yawning gap in performance between sectors weighed heavily in tech stocks, and those without. The S&P 500’s information technology and consumer discretionary sectors – the latter of which includes Amazon – have each rallied well over 10% since June 1, versus a 3% gain in the broader market. The energy sector has fallen 11.7% since June 1, and the utilities and financials sectors have dropped 5.6% and 3.9%, respectively.

“FAANG stocks went through a stress test that is greater than anything we will see in five lifetimes,” Tom Lee, Fundstrat global advisors managing partner and head of research, told Yahoo Finance on Thursday. FAANG names include Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet.

“They survived the Great Depression, and they actually grew their business, their revenues,” he added, referring to the period marking the economic nadir spurred by the pandemic. “And I think that means that investors realize that the value of their cash flow is that much more valuable. I think it’s a re-rating, and I think it’s a permanent re-rate. And that’s why they’ve blown past their prior highs.”

Big banks stocks stabilized in early trading after lagging during the regular session. Earlier, Bloomberg reported that Wells Fargo was planning to cut thousands of jobs this year, which would put the bank among a growing list of firms slashing their workforces to pare down costs during the pandemic. Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), Harley-Davidson (HOG), Nielsen (NLSN) and United Airlines (UAL) have each announced planned job cuts earlier this week.

8:30 a.m. ET: Core producer prices unexpectedly drop in June

An index tracking changes in producer prices unexpectedly fell in June as downward pressure on prices remained as the coronavirus pandemic weighed on demand.

The headline producer price index (PPI) dropped 0.2% month on month in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. A 0.4% increase in PPI had been expected, to match May’s pace of gains. Over last year, PPI fell 0.8% to match May’s year over year decline.

Excluding more volatile food and energy prices, PPI fell 0.3% on a month over month basis, while a rise of 0.1% had been expected. This core measure of underlying producer price changes had declined 0.1% in May.

7:28 a.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures point to a lower open

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:28 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,133.75, down 7.25 points or 0.23%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 25,496.00, down 75 points, or 0.29%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 10,718.00, down 9.5 points, or 0.09%

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.63 (-1.59%) to $38.99 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$9.80 (+0.54%) to $1,813.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -1.6 bps to yield 0.589%

6:09 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures rise

Here were the main moves at the start of the overnight session for U.S. equity futures, as of 6:09 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,145.5, up 4.5 points or 0.14%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 25,611.00, up 40 points, or 0.16%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 10,734.5, up 7 points, or 0.07%

An official wearing a protective face mask speaks to people waiting in line outside NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health Morrisania neighborhood health center, one of New York City’s new walk-in COVID-19 testing centers, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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