Stocks End Mixed Amid U.S.-China Tension - Fauci Calls Vaccine Data 'Promising'

Stocks finish mixed Friday as U.S.-China tensions heat up. Dr. Anthony Fauci calls data on a potential coronavirus vaccine "promising."
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Stocks finished mixed Friday as tensions between the U.S. and China heated up, while a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force said data on a potential coronavirus vaccine looked "promising," 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 8.9 points, or 0.04%, to 24,465, while the S&P 500 was up 0.24%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.43%.

Chevron  (CVX) - Get Report, Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Report, and Caterpillar  (CAT) - Get Report led the Dow's decline. 

For the week, the Dow industrials rose 3.3%, the S&P 500 added 3.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 3.4%.

Oil prices tumbled after China dropped its annual GDP target for the first time since 1990. The world's second-largest economy has been staggering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

China also announced plans to impose new national-security laws on Hong Kong. President Donald Trump said the U.S. would "address that issue very strongly."

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NPR that Moderna's  (MRNA) - Get Report coronavirus vaccine data looked “quite promising." 

He also noted, however, that full data have not been peer-reviewed. 

Separately, Fauci told CNBC stay-at-home orders intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus could end up causing “irreparable damage” if imposed for too long.

Moderna shares finished up 2.9% on Friday. 

The biotech company saw its stock climb on Monday after it said results from the first human trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine were positive. 

However, the shares fell after vaccine experts said research around the vaccine candidate did not produce enough critical data to properly evaluate it.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic looks “a long way away.”

Speaking on CNBC, the former vice president said Trump's “slowness is costing lives and costing jobs and costing our ability to rebound."

Biden also said his tax policy is based on a simple proposition, "which is to stop rewarding wealth and start rewarding work a little bit."

"Nobody making under 400,000 bucks would have their taxes raised," he said. "Period. Bingo. Let's get people back to work. Let's get them to work."

Stocks finished lower on Thursday after Trump criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping in a series of tweets, while millions more Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits.

Trump's tweets followed Wednesday's passage of a bill by the U.S. Senate that could bar some Chinese companies from listing on U.S. stock exchanges.

Alibaba Group  (BABA) - Get Report on Friday posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, as China's months-long lockdown boosted online sales for Asia's most valuable tech company.

Nvidia  (NVDA) - Get Report shares rose after the chipmaker posted fiscal first-quarter earnings and sales that topped analysts' estimates. 

The graphics-chip specialist said it expected fiscal second-quarter revenue of $3.65 billion, which includes the the company's acquisition of Mellanox in April.

"This was a solid quarter that supports our view that Nvidia is exposed to all the right end markets," said Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS team, which holds Nvidia in its portfolio. 

Abbott Laboratories  (ABT) - Get Report said an ongoing multisite clinical study indicated its ID Now Covid-19 rapid test was accurate in detecting the virus nearly 95% of the time and negative results were correctly given 98.6% of the time.

Deere & Co.  (DE) - Get Report posted stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings Friday but warned that full-year sales are likely to fall sharply as the global coronavirus pandemic saps demand for agricultural and industrial equipment. 

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