Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Dow futures sink on concerns about Covid cases in Europe
- Austria re-imposes a full lockdown, makes vaccines mandatory
- FDA clears Moderna, Pfizer Covid vaccine booster shots for all U.S. adults
- Biden's social and climate spending plan set for a House vote
- Sierra Space's valuation soars as it builds spaceplane, space station
Dow futures fell more than 200 points as concern builds around European Covid outbreaks. Austria announced Friday morning that it will re-enter a full national lockdown due to a resurgence in cases. Nasdaq futures were modestly higher, however, supported by a generally upbeat premarket for tech stocks. Intuit shares soared more than 13% in Friday's premarket, the morning after the TurboTax software company blew past estimates with quarterly earnings and raised full-year revenue guidance. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 on Thursday closed at records and were tracking for positive weeks. The Dow dipped, now more than 1.5% away from its Nov. 8 record close. The 30-stock average was on pace for a negative week.
Austria's fourth national Covid lockdown will start on Monday and will initially last for 10 days. The country's unvaccinated are already barred from leaving their homes for nonessential purposes. Starting Feb. 1, Austria will make vaccinations mandatory. Covid cases are spiking across Europe as the pandemic sweeps the region, prompting many governments to ramp up mitigation measures. Germany said Thursday that unvaccinated people in areas with high hospital admissions would be banned from certain venues. The Netherlands has introduced a partial lockdown.
The Food and Drug Administration has cleared booster shots from Moderna and Pfizer for use in everyone 18 and older in the U.S., another key step toward widespread availability. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still has to authorize the distribution of the additional doses. The CDC's independent panel of vaccine experts is scheduled to meet Friday. The Pfizer booster, like Moderna's additional shot, was previously authorized for the elderly and those at high-risk. People 18 and older who got Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine were already made eligible for a booster.
The House moved toward a vote on President Joe Biden's social safety net and climate plan Friday morning after a key analysis said it would only slightly add to budget deficits over a decade. Democrats had been looking at a Thursday vote, but it was postponed as House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy delivered a marathon speech that lasted more than eight hours, breaking the modern-day record set in 2018 by then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Sierra Space, a unit of private aerospace contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation, raised $1.4 billion in new capital at a $4.5 billion valuation. The funding from General Atlantic, Coatue, Moore Strategic Ventures, BlackRock and AE Industrial Partners represents the first outside investment in Sierra Space since the subsidiary in April. Sierra Space has two major projects in development: The Dream Chaser spaceplane and the Orbital Reef space station, the latter which it partnered with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to build.