Dow futures pointed to a 100 point gain at Friday's open as Wall Street monitors coronavirus stimulus talks and contemplates how the final presidential debate may influence undecided voters. Quarterly earnings reports and FDA approval of Gilead Sciences' antiviral remdesivir are also in the mix for investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Thursday up 152 points, or 0.5%, higher. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also advanced. However, those gains were not enough to pull the three benchmarks out of negative territory for the week.
Dow stock American Express fell about 3% in the premarket after the credit card giant on Friday reported a nearly 40% drop in third-quarter adjusted earnings to a lower-than-expected $1.30 per share. Revenue, which dropped 20% to $8.8 billion, actually beat estimates.
Shares of Intel, also a Dow component, dropped 9% in Friday's premarket, the morning after the company showed new weakness in its data center business in the third quarter. Per-share adjusted earnings fell 22% to $1.11, matching estimates. Revenue, which dropped 4% to $18.33 billion, beat expectations.
The final debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, in stark contrast to their first affair, was much calmer and more focused on their policy differences. Less than two weeks before the Nov. 3 election, the two candidates still went after each other Thursday night on the coronavirus, climate change, their personal finances and health care.
Shares of Gilead Sciences jumped 6% in Friday's premarket, one day after the Food and Drug Administration approved remdesivir as the first treatment in the U.S. for the coronavirus. In May, the FDA granted the antiviral drug an emergency use authorization. Remdesivir was among the treatments that Trump received after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this month.
The FDA took an unusual step Thursday and opened to the public a routine meeting with a Covid-19 advisory group of outside researchers and physicians. The group is weighing in on the process for approving coronavirus vaccines as the agency battles public concerns about its safety and political pressure from the Trump administration.
Shares of Walmart were little changed in the premarket after the company filed a lawsuit against the federal government, seeking clarity on the roles and legal responsibilities of pharmacists and pharmacies in filling opioid prescriptions. Walmart said certain officials in the Justice Department are threatening to sue the retail giant, claiming pharmacists should have refused to fill valid opioid prescriptions. On Wednesday, a West Virginia court ruled that Walmart must turn over information about federal and state investigations into its opioid-related practices to hospitals suing the company for allegedly contributing to the epidemic.
Shares of Uber and Lyft were under pressure in premarket trading after a California appeals court ruled that companies must comply with a preliminary injunction requiring them to stop classifying drivers as independent contractors. The order, however, won't take effect right away and a state ballot measure could still undermine the entire case. Uber and Lyft have said they would have to temporarily suspend service in California if they were forced to classify their drivers as employees.
— The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real-time with CNBC's live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.