US open: Mixed start to trading following vaccine updates
Wall Street trading began on a mixed note on Friday as Covid-19 cases continued to rise across the country.
As of 1545 BST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.76% at 25,901.71 and the S&P 500 was 0.37% firmer at 3,163.66, while the Nasdaq Composite started out the session 0.04% weaker at 10,543.42.
The Dow opened 195.62 points higher on Friday, clawing back some of Thursday's losses that came after the announcement of a fresh record for new coronavirus cases in the US.
Covid-19 related hospitalisations hit a record in the state of Florida, while California's average daily increase also hit an all-time high. With the US reporting 63,000 additional cases, the increased numbers weighed on stocks reliant on the reopening of the economy ahead of the bell.
However, sentiment got a boost at the open after the head of German biotechnology outfit BioNTech said the company would file for regulatory approval of its Covid-19 vaccine before the end of 2020. BioNTech's boss said he believed the filing could take place in December, slightly later than the expected October filing that executives at Pfizer have indicated in recent weeks.
Still on the treatment front, Gilead Sciences said its coronavirus treatment candidate, remdesivir, was associated with "an improvement in clinical recovery and a 62% reduction in the risk of mortality" when compared to standard of care.
Losses were also somewhat tempered after Dr Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revealed that Moderna's coronavirus vaccine candidate would soon enter phase three trials.
Also in focus were comments from presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden who said he would end the era of "shareholder capitalism", launching a $700bn economic plan and taking aim at Wall Street.
"During this crisis, Donald Trump has been almost singularly focused on the stock market, the Dow and the Nasdaq. Not you. Not your families," Biden said. "Wall Street bankers and CEOs didn’t build America."
In macro news, producer prices unexpectedly fell in June as the US economy continued to contend with depressed demand as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand dropped 0.2% in June after rebounding 0.4% in May - short of the 0.4% expected on the Street.