U.S. Stocks May Open Sharply Higher On Vaccine News, Goldman Sachs Earnings

Stocks are likely to move to the upside in early trading on Wednesday, adding to the strong gains posted in the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a sharply higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 553 points.

Upbeat news on the coronavirus vaccine front is likely to generate early buying interest, helping traders shrug off news of a record single-day spike in new Covid-19 cases in the U.S.

Biotech firm Moderna (MRNA) said its experimental vaccine for Covid-19 was safe and produced strong immune responses in all 45 patients in an ongoing early-stage human trial.

An interim analysis of the open-label Phase 1 study of the vaccine candidate was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The latest news follows other recent positive developments on the coronavirus treatment and vaccine fronts, which have generated optimism the economic threat posed by the pandemic could be addressed in the relatively near future.

A spike by shares of Goldman Sachs (GS) may add to the positive sentiment after the financial giant reported much stronger than expected second quarter results.

Goldman Sachs reported earnings of $6.26 per share on revenues of $13.3 billion compared to analyst estimates for earnings of $3.78 per share on revenues of $9.8 billion. The company benefited from strong results in its trading and investment banking divisions.

In U.S. economic news, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a report showing New York manufacturing activity expanded in the month of July following four consecutive months of contraction

The New York Fed said its general business conditions soared to a positive 17.2 in July from a negative 0.2 in June, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to jump to 10.0.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Labor Department showed U.S. import prices surged up by more than expected in June as fuel prices continued to skyrocket.

Just before the start of trading, the Federal Reserve is due to release its report on industrial production in the month of June. Industrial production is expected to spike by 4.3 percent in June after jumping by 1.4 percent in May.

The Fed is also scheduled to release its Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in the twelve Fed districts, later in the day.

Following the sharp pullback seen in afternoon trading on Monday, stocks showed a significant move back to the upside during trading on Tuesday. The Dow showed a particularly strong upward move, reaching its best closing level in a month.

The Dow soared 556.79 points or 2.1 percent to 26,642.59 and the S&P 500 surged up 42.30 points or 1.3 percent to 3,197.53, which was also a one-month high.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq lagged behind for much of the session but eventually joined its counterparts in positive territory, closing up 97.73 points or 0.9 percent at 10,488.58.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Wednesday, although China’s Shanghai Composite Index bucked the uptrend and tumbled by 1.6 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index jumped by 1.6 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

The major European markets have also shown strong moves to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has soared by 2.4 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 2 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 1.8 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.65 to $40.94 a barrel after inching up $0.19 to $40.29 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,808.80, down $4.60 compared to the previous session’s close of $1,813.40. On Tuesday, gold edged down $0.70.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 106.79 yen compared to the 107.24 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.1437 compared to yesterday’s $1.1400.

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