Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, December 22:
1. -- Stock Futures Mixed With Omicron In Focus
U.S. equity futures traded mixed Wednesday, amid a notable slide in pre-market trading volumes ahead of the coming Christmas holidays, as investors continue to track the pace and breadth of Omicron infections in major economies around the world.
U.S. stocks, which ended yesterday's session with solid gains, are also likely to be swayed by news from Washington, as the White House continues to negotiate President Joe Biden's $1.75 trillion 'Build Back Better's spending bill with senior Democrats, including recalcitrant Senator Joe Manchin.
Omicron's spread, however, continues to dominate market sentiment on what is likely the last full trading session of the week, with infections doubling every one and a half to three days, according to the World Health Organization, and countries instituting business and travel restrictions in order to tame its advance.
On Wall Street, futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a 40 point opening bell gain, while those linked to the S&P 500 are priced for a 2 point bump.
The Nasdaq Composite is also looking to open modestly lower, with futures indicating a 30 point slide, as benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields rise to 1.482% in overnight trading.
2. -- Pfizer Boosts Covid Pill Sales, Eyes FDA Nod
Pfizer (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report shares edged higher in pre-market trading after the drugmaker agreed to sell an additional 2.5 million doses of its developing Covid treatment to the United Kingdom next year.
Pfizer will collectively sell around 4.25 million doses of the drug, known as Paxlovid, as it ramps up global production to around 80 million doses this year and as many as 4 billion in 2022.
A report from Bloomberg News also suggests the drugmaker could receive Emergency Use Approval (EUA) from U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Paxlovid -- alongside the oral Covid treatment produced by Merck (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. Report and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics -- in the coming days.
Micron shares were marked 0.3% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $59.12 each. Merck shares gained 0.7% to suggest a $76.06 per share open.
3. -- Amazon Adds to Tech Sector Exodus From Consumer Electronics Show
Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report will not send delegates to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month, adding to the list of tech companies opting to miss the industry's annual flagship event.
With Omicron cases rising and companies around the country delaying plans for in-office returns, the CES -- which attracts as many as 180,000 people each year -- is looking increasingly unique in its effort to continue as normal over its planned four-day span beginning on January 5.
Twitter (TWTR) - Get Twitter, Inc. Report, Meta Platforms (FB) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Class A Report and Pinterest (PINS) - Get Pinterest, Inc. Class A Report have all confirmed that they will not send reps to Las Vegas, and the CEO of the conference's major sponsor -- Mike Sievert of T-Mobile (TMUS) - Get T-Mobile US, Inc. Report-- will no longer be delivering its keynote speech.
Big names still planning to attend, however, include General Motors (GM) - Get General Motors Company Report, Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report and Japan's Sony Electronics.
4. -- Blackberry Swings To Profit, Provides Muted Outlook
Blackberry BB shares slipped lower in pre-market trading after the tech group -- formerly known for its eponymous smart phone -- posted stronger-than-expected third quarter profits but issued a muted sales outlook.
The Canada-based group, which now focuses on cybersecurity software, swung into profit with a bottom line of $74 million on sales of $184 million. Looking into the final months of its financial year, Blackberry said it sees revenue in the region of $125 million and $135 million, modestly south of Street forecasts, as it looks to improved demand for its QNX software, which is used by some of the world's biggest carmakers, once global supply chains begin to improve
Nike shares were marked 1.6% lower in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $9.10 each, a move that would extend their six-month decline to around 32.1%.
5. -- Musk Says He's 'Sold Enough' Tesla Shares
Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report shares moved higher in pre-market trading after founder and CEO Elon Musk declared that he has 'sold enough stock' in the clean energy car company following a pledge to offload around 10% of his holdings.
In an interview with the Babylon Bee website, which was released late Tuesday, Musk said he had needed to sell Tesla shares "no matter what", given that he needed to raise cash to meet tax liabilities linked to options expirations, but added that he had "sold enough stock to get to around 10%" - a tally he had put to his 67.2 million Twitter followers last month.
Securities and Exchange Commission filings Tuesday also showed Musk selling another 583,611 shares, taking his overall total to 13.5 million.
Tesla shares, which have fallen around 23% since Musk's November 4 Twitter poll, were marked 2.2% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $959.41 each.