Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Stock futures slightly higher after S&P 500, Dow close at records
- Disney shares jump after better-than-expected earnings
- FDA authorizes Covid vaccine booster shots for people with weakened immune systems
- Airbnb shares fall after warning about delta variant impact
- U.S. to deploy 3,000 troops to evacuate embassy personnel in Afghanistan
Stock futures were slightly higher Friday, one day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 closed at all-time highs yet again. The 30-stock Dow advanced 14.88 points on Thursday, ending the trading day at a record 35,499.85. The broad S&P 500 added 0.3% to finish at a record 4,460.83. The indexes enter Friday's session up 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively, for the week. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3% Thursday, putting the tech-heavy index down just 0.1% this week. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was mildly lower Friday, dipping 2 basis points to 1.344%.
Shares of Dow component Disney jumped more than 5% in premarket trading Friday as Wall Street cheered the media and entertainment giant's fiscal third-quarter results. Disney's quarterly revenue of $17.02 billion topped analyst expectations of $16.76 billion, while per-share earnings of 80 cents surpassed projections of 55 cents, according to Refinitiv. The company's flagship streaming service, Disney+, ended the quarter with 116 million subscribers, more than the 114.5 million that analysts expected in a StreetAccount survey. Disney's parks, experiences and products division also turned in a profit in Q3, its first since the coronavirus pandemic began early last year.
The Food and Drug Administration late Thursday authorized coronavirus vaccine booster shots for people who have weakened immune systems, a decision that comes as the highly transmissible delta variant causes a resurgence in U.S. Covid cases. The final go-ahead to allow those third shots of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines would come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency's vaccine advisory committee is set to meet Friday and may issue a recommendation. Should that be approved by the CDC, booster shots for immunocompromised individuals could be given immediately, offering the vulnerable people another layer of protection against Covid. Those who would be eligible include cancer and HIV patients, as well as organ transplant recipients.
While the FDA stressed other fully vaccinated people are "adequately protected" at present, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said earlier Thursday it is "likely" that everyone will need a booster shot down the road.
Shares of Airbnb fell more than 3% in Friday's premarket, as investors digested the travel rental company's second-quarter results and its warning about a potential impact from the Covid delta variant. Revenue of $1.34 billion beat analyst forecasts of $1.26 billion, according to Refinitiv, while the company lost 11 cents per share. Airbnb reported a 29% quarter-over-quarter increase in nights and experiences booked with 83.1 million, when StreetAccount projections called for 79.2 million. While Airbnb expects third-quarter revenue to be its strongest ever, it said in a letter to shareholders that concern about the delta variant is likely to influence travel behavior.
The Pentagon will send 3,000 troops to Afghanistan to help evacuate staff at the U.S. Embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul as Taliban insurgents advance toward the city. "This is a very narrowly focused mission of safeguarding the orderly reduction of civilian personnel out of Afghanistan," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Thursday. The U.S. still expects to fully withdraw all troops by Aug. 31, Kirby said, part of the process to end America's longest war, which began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Taliban on Friday took control of Afghanistan's second and third largest cities, according to Reuters. Since Aug. 6, the Taliban has gained control of 14 of the country's 34 provincial capitals.