Stock Futures Surge on COVID-19 Treatment Optimism

Gilead Sciences' experimental COVID-19 treatment shows early promise

Managing Editor
Apr 17, 2020 at 9:12 AM
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After yesterday's roller-coaster session, Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) futures are poised for one last surge higher this week. There's optimism on Wall Street after Gilead Sciences' (GILD) remdesivir -- an experimental treatment for coronavirus -- is reportedly making progress, lending hope that businesses can begin to ramp up activity quicker-than-expected. Blue chip consumer products name Procter & Gamble (PG) is also propping up the Dow, after sharing a fiscal third-quarter earnings beat. Futures on the Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) are soaring into the black as well,  with the only thing seemingly sitting out today's rally is oil. At last check, June-dated crude futures are down 7.9% at $18.30 per barrel.  

Continue reading for more on today's market, including: 

  • A C-suite shakeup has Mylan stock in focus.
  • Square stock was dinged after a downgrade.
  • Plus, two drug stocks higher on COVID-19 updates; and LULU higher despite C-suite shakeup.

Stock Futures Chart April 17

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1.4 million call contracts traded on Thursday, and 854,844 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio fell to 0.59, and the 21-day moving average dropped to 0.70.
  2. Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) stock is up 11% in electronic trading, after a report indicated experimental drug remdesivir was helping patients experience rapid recoveries from COVID-19. The company warned it would need to analyze the data to fully draw conclusions. Gilead Sciences stock is up 17% in 2020, guided higher by its 40-day moving average.
  3. On a related note, biotech concern Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) is up 18.2% before the open, after the company was awarded $483 million in government funding for its own experimental coronavirus vaccine. MRNA has more than doubled year-to-date, and is fresh off a record high of $41.55 yesterday.
  4. The shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc (NASDAQ:LULU) are up 4.2% ahead of the bell, after the company's Chief Financial Officer Patrick Guido announced he was stepping down on May 8. The athleisure retailer is down 9% in 2020, but up 10% for the quarter. 
  5. It's a light end to the week, with not much on the economic schedule. Quarterly reports from Citizens Financial Group (CFG), Kansas City Southern (KC), and Schlumberger (SLB) are on tap. 

Buzz April 17

Economic Data Boosts Asian Markets

Asian markets enjoyed an overdue win, after a handful of economic data came in better than expected, indicating the country is past the worst of its coronavirus-induced headwinds. The Nikkei in Japan surged 3.2%,  while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.6%. The Shanghai Composite tacked on 0.7%, while South Korea’s Kospi brushed off dismal jobs data and marked a 3.1% win.

On the heels of news that Gilead Sciences’ coronavirus treatment is having success, stocks in Europe are moving higher at midday. The FTSE 100 Index in London sports a 3.4% lift, while France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX carry 4% and 3.7% gains, respectively.


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