Stocks rose Friday after Pfizer (PFE) – Get Report said it would seek emergency use approval for its Covid-19 vaccine as soon as November and Boeing’s (BA) – Get Report grounded 737 MAX aircraft was deemed safe enough to fly by European regulators.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 161 points, or 0.57%, to 28,655, the S&P 500 gained 0.42% and the Nasdaq rose 0.46%.
Sentiment also received a boost from a 1.9% surge in U.S. retail sales in September. Sales at U.S. retail stores rose for the fifth consecutive month.
Pfizer’s timeline for emergency use authorization approval is the most specific of any of the dozens of experimental coronavirus vaccines undergoing testing and follows pauses in trials from rivals AstraZeneca (AZN) – Get Report and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) – Get Report over safety concerns.
Pfizer shares were up 1.5% to $37.10 in trading Friday.
Boeing rose 5.27% to $172.89 Friday after Europe’s top aviation regulator said he was satisfied that changes to Boeing’s 737 MAX have made the plane safe enough to return at least to Europe’s skies before the end of 2020.
The Pfizer and Boeing news comes as investors weigh a stalemate in U.S. stimulus negotiations and the economic impact of efforts by global governments to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump has told Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin the White could raise its virus relief offer above $1.8 trillion, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that reluctant GOP lawmakers wouldn’t go along.
Mnuchin told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the chief negotiator for House Democrats, that “the president would weigh in with Leader McConnell should an agreement be reached,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted.
Waning hopes for a stimulus deal before Election Day sank markets on Thursday, as did an unexpected jump in U.S. jobless claims and a resurgence of virus cases rising in Europe, prompting aggressive clampdowns from governments in France and Britain to contain the outbreak.
“Amid a stagnating labor market, the jump in retail sales this month suggests consumer strength is pretty robust – with the highest number we’ve seen in three months,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*Trade. “The momentum on that front could be a positive for the market as investors look for signs of recovery.
“That said, it remains to be seen if this is an outlier or trend. Retail sales could take center stage in the months ahead as holiday season quickly approaches. Retailers certainly have had to pivot during the pandemic, so we’ll see how they keep up with consumers to close out 2020. Further, while a resilient consumer is a broad positive for the recovery, (Friday’s) results could reduce the pressure on lawmakers to get any stimulus measure through before the election,” he added.