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Stocks Rally, Bitcoin Surges, Moderna Gets Booster Nod, Banksy Cashes In - 5 Things You Must Know

Stocks higher as earnings drive global rally; Bitcoin tops $60,000 as SEC mulls futures-linked ETFs; FDA panel gives nod to Moderna boosters shots; Boeing pilot charged with 737 MAX fraud and half-shredded Banksy painting sells for $25 million at Sotheby's auction.

Here are five things you must know for Friday, October 15:

1. -- Stocks Futures Extend  Gains As Earnings Power Global Rally 

U.S. equity futures extended gains Friday, following on from the best day for the S&P 500 in six months, as corporate earnings and improving sentiment offset persistent concerns that inflation will continue to shroud markets over the months ahead.

European stocks are on pace for their best week in seven months, while Japan's Nikkei 225 closed at a two-week high as markets keyed on solid U.S. bank and corporate earnings and looked to today's reading of September retail sales data to confirm consumer strength in the world's biggest economy.

Oil prices were also on the rise, however, with Brent crude futures trading at the highest levels in three years, underscoring the impact of both the energy crush rolling through Europe and Asia and the impact of supply-chain disruptions on commodity markets. 

Still, with the five biggest U.S. banks reporting collective third quarter profits of nearly $30 billion this week, and Goldman Sachs  (GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Report ready to report before the opening bell, stocks are again firmly in the green Friday with futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a 145 point opening bell gain.

The S&P 500 is priced for a 15 point move to the upside. Nasdaq Composite futures, meanwhile, are set for a 45 point gain as benchmark 10-year note yields eased to 1.533% in overnight trading.

2. -- Bitcoin Tops $60,000 On Report SEC Ready To Approve ETFs

Bitcoin prices topped the $60,000 mark for the first time in six months in overnight trading amid reports that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is set to approve the first set of exchange traded funds linked to the world's biggest cryptocurrency.

Bloomberg News reported late Thursday that applications from ProShares and Invesco Ltd. for tradeable ETFs linked to bitcoin futures -- which trade on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange -- offer enough investor protection to satisfy SEC concerns/

Trading could begin as early as next week, with two further ETFs, from VanEck and Valkyrie, possibly receiving SEC approval before the end of the month.

Bitcoin prices were last marked 2.2% higher on the day at $58,940 each. 

 The Top Challenge Facing Cryptocurrency and Blockchain

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3. -- Moderna Gets Nod From FDA Panel On COVID Booster Shots

Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report shares jumped higher in pre-market trading Friday after a panel advising the U.S. Food & Drug Administration recommended booster shots of the drugmaker's COVID vaccine for older and at-risk Americans.

The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee made the recommendation late Thursday for those over 65, and for Americans at high risk of either occupational exposure to the virus or of becoming seriously ill because of it.

The panel will mull a similar request from Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report later today, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention following up early next week on both decisions before final approval is ultimately granted.

Moderna shares were marked 2.9% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $341.38 each, while Johnson & Johnson shares edged 0.56% higher to $161.00 each.

4. -- Boeing Pilot Charged With Deceiving FAA On 737 MAX Safety 

The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted a former Boeing Co  (BA) - Get Boeing Company Report pilot for allegedly deceiving the Federal Aviation Administration over safety concerns linked to the planemaker's 737 MAX aircraft.

A Texas grand jury charged Mark Forkner with six counts of fraud for providing the FAA with "materially false, inaccurate, and incomplete information" related to the flight system software on the 737 MAX, which was ultimately tied to two fatal crashes of the aircraft in 2018 and 2019 that killed 347 passengers and crew.

 "In an attempt to save Boeing money, Forkner allegedly withheld critical information from regulators," said Northern Texas acting U.S. attorney Chad Meacham. "His callous choice to mislead the FAA hampered the agency's ability to protect the flying public and left pilots in the lurch, lacking information about certain 737 MAX flight controls."  

Boeing shares were marked 0.4% higher in pre-market trading Friday to indicate an opening bell price of $218.30 each. 

5. -- Half-Shredded Banksy Painting  Sells For $25 Million

A half-shredded painting from British underground artist Banksy sold for more than $25.4 million at a Sothebys' in London late Thursday, less than three years after it was nearly destroyed during a similar event at the famous auction house.

Banksy, whose real name is a closely-guarded secret, first sold the "Girl with Balloon" painting in October 2018 for around £1.1 million pounds. Moments after the auction was confirmed, however, a mechanical device imbedded in the framing began to shed the painting in front of a horrified audience of bidders and auctioneers. 

Renamed "Love in in the Bin", the half-shredded painting fetched £18.582 million pounds, more than three times is auction estimate and a record for the iconic street artist, last night in London.