U.S. stock futures were higher heading into Friday's open, with Pfizer rising more than 2.5% after saying it could apply for FDA emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate in late November.
Wall Street on Thursday logged a third straight session of losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, down more than 300 points at its lowest stage Thursday, closed nearly 20 points lower. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq, also much worse off earlier Thursday, finished down slightly. As of Thursday's close, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq held on to weekly gains, while the Dow dipped negative for the week.
The government said Friday September retail sales rose 1.9%, more than double expectations. The rosy retail sales report came one day after a higher-than-expected 898,000 new applications for unemployment benefits were filed last week.
Based on current trial enrollment and the pace of dosing, Pfizer expects to have safety data on its coronavirus vaccine test in the third week of next month. The U.S.-based drugmaker said that once that happens it could then put in for FDA emergency use authorization. Pfizer, which is working with Germany-based BioNTech on a coronavirus vaccine candidate, said previously it expected late-stage trial data in October. The FDA has said it wants at least two months of safety data before considering emergency use of any experimental Covid-19 vaccine.
Dow stock Boeing, off nearly 50% this year, rose about 4% in premarket trading after Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, told Bloomberg on Friday that he's satisfied with the changes the company has made to its troubled 737 Max jet. Ky also said the grounded fleet could return to the region's skies before the end of 2020. The announcement comes even though Boeing is yet to implement a software upgrade that his agency demanded.
Shares of Amazon and Apple rose in Friday's premarket, one day after closing lower. Amazon, on the heels of this week's two-day Prime Day event, launched its Holiday Dash sales event, promising "Black Friday-worthy deals" every day, starting Friday. Apple, one of the Dow 30 components, starts taking iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro preorders at 8 a.m. ET. Preorders for the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max begin Friday, Nov. 6.
Following dueling town halls that started at the same time on different networks, President Donald Trump campaigns in Georgia and Florida on Friday. Democratic nominee Joe Biden goes to Michigan, one day before Trump's visit Saturday.
On Thursday night in Miami on NBC, Trump said he did not remember if he was tested for coronavirus before the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, less than a week before he announced he had Covid-19. Trump also said he knows nothing about the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Biden, in Philadelphia on ABC, denounced the Trump administration's response to the pandemic. Biden also refused to rule out the idea of increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court, but said he would make his position clear by the Nov. 3 election.
The debate that was supposed to happen Thursday night was canceled, but Trump and Biden are expected to hold their final presidential debate next week. While Biden leads Trump by double digits nationally, the former vice president's leads in several crucial swing states are slightly lower than Hillary Clinton's were at this point in the 2016 race, polls show.
— The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.