U.S. equity futures edged higher Wednesday, amid a notable slide in pre-market trading volumes ahead of the coming Christmas holidays, as investors continue to track the pace and breadth of Omicron infections in major economies around the world.
U.S. stocks, which ended yesterday’s session with solid gains, are also likely to be swayed by news from Washington, as the White House continues to negotiate President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion ‘Build Back Better’s spending bill with senior Democrats, including recalcitrant Senator Joe Manchin.
Omicron’s spread, however, continues to dominate market sentiment on what is likely the last full trading session of the week, with infections doubling every one and a half to three days, according to the World Health Organization, and countries instituting business and travel restrictions in order to tame its advance.
Still, data from South Africa suggests hospitalizations linked to Omicron are far less likely than with Delta, and while the strain its likely to become dominant in Europe over the coming weeks, its symptoms remain less severe than those reported from prior incarnations.
To that end, Pfizer (PFE) – Get Pfizer Inc. Report shares edged higher in pre-market trading after the drugmaker agreed to sell an additional 2.5 million doses of its developing Covid treatment to the United Kingdom next year, while a report from Bloomberg News also suggests the drugmaker could receive Emergency Use Approval (EUA) from U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Paxlovid — alongside the oral Covid treatment produced by Merck (MRK) – Get Merck & Co., Inc. Report and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics — in the coming days..
On Wall Street, futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a 50 point opening bell gain, while those linked to the S&P 500 are priced for a 2 point bump.
The Nasdaq Composite is also looking to open modestly lower, with futures indicating a 10 point dip, as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields rise to 1.482% in overnight trading.
CarMax (KMX) – Get CarMax, Inc. Report shares jumped 3.3% after the vehicle-buying website posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings amid a record surge in used car prices triggered by the Covid pandemic.
Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report shares were also on the move, rising 3.9% after founder and CEO Elon Musk declared that he has ‘sold enough stock’ in the clean energy car company following a pledge to offload around 10% of his holdings.
In overseas trading, Europe’s region-wide Stoxx 600 was marked 0.13% higher my mid-day trading in Frankfurt while Asia’s MSCI ex-Japan index was marked 0.5% higher and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo closed 0.16% to the good at 28,562.21 points.