Novavax, Coupang, Ulta, Stimulus Checks: 5 Things You Must Know Friday

Stock futures fluctuate and Treasury yields spike Friday; Novavax says its vaccine is 96% effective against the original COVID-19 strain; Coupang jumps 41% in its trading debut.
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Here are five things you must know for Friday, March 12:

1. -- Stock Futures Fluctuate and Treasury Yields Spike

Stock futures fluctuated Friday and Treasury yields spiked, a day after optimism over the $1.9 trillion U.S. pandemic relief package sent equities to record highs.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 22 points, S&P 500 futures were down 14 points and futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq slumped 180 points.

The Dow and S&P 500 closed at records on Thursday as tech shares rallied and President Joe Biden signed his coronavirus relief bill a day earlier than expected. Stimulus checks of $1,400 for millions of Americans could begin rolling out as soon as this weekend, according to the White House.

Rates on the 10-year Treasury jumped to 1.598% on Friday as volatility returned to the bond market. That volatility had eased earlier this week as investors showed less concern that a reopening of the U.S. economy from the coronavirus pandemic will boost inflation. 

Biden said in his first prime-time address Thursday that he will direct states to make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccines by May 1. He also set a July 4 goal for the U.S. to begin returning to normal.

“If we all do our part, this country will be vaccinated soon, our economy will be on the mend, our kids will be back in school, and we’ll have proven once again that this country can do anything,” Biden said.

2. -- Novavax Vaccine Is 96% Effective Against Original COVID Strain

Novavax  (NVAX) - Get Report was soaring almost 20% in premarket trading Friday after a study showed its vaccine candidate was 86.3% effective against the fast-spreading U.K. variant of COVID-19

The U.K. study enrolled more than 15,000 participants.

The vaccine candidate had 96.4% efficacy against "mild, moderate, and severe disease caused by the original COVID-19 strain,” Novavax said.

In both cases, the vaccine candidate provided "100% protection against severe disease, including all hospitalization and death," the company said.

Novavax said the data would be used in applications for regulatory approval of the vaccine candidate worldwide.

To date, three vaccines against COVID-19 have been given emergency use authorization in the U.S. They include one jointly developed by Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report and BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get Report, a second by Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Report and a third by Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Report. The J&J vaccine requires only a single shot, while the others, including the vaccine from Novavax, require follow-up booster shots a few weeks after the initial inoculation.

3. -- Coupang Rises 41% in Stock Market Debut

Coupang  (CPNG) - Get Report, the South Korean e-commerce giant backed by Japan’s SoftBank, rose 41% in its stock market debut Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

The stock closed at $49.25 a share, above its offering price of $35. In premarket trading Friday, Coupang rose 4.67% to $51.55.

Coupang's offering was the biggest initial public offering in the United States this year so far. Often called the Amazon of South Korea, the company raised $4.6 billion in its IPO, valuing it at about $60 billion.

The IPO also was the second-largest listing for an Asian company after Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group  (BABA) - Get Report went public in 2014.

Coupang was founded in 2010 by Bom Suk Kim, a Harvard Business School dropout. It has become one of the three largest private-sector employers in South Korea.

4. -- Ulta Beauty Tumbles on Soft Sales Outlook

Ulta Beauty  (ULTA) - Get Report was tumbling in premarket trading Friday after its sales outlook came in below analysts' estimates and the seller of beauty products announced a CEO transition.

Ulta Beauty said net revenue in its fiscal year will range between $7.2 billion to $7.3 billion, below forecasts of $7.33 billion. Comparable-store were estimated to rise as much as 17% from last year.

The company announced that CEO Mary Dillon would be replaced by President David Kimbell in June. Dillon will become executive chairman of Ulta Beauty.

“It’s the right time for me and for the company,” Dillon said in an interview with Bloomberg. She said the company was coming off a “tough year” but it has “strong momentum and optimism about the future and a team that’s really ready to build the next 10 years of strategies and growth.”

While the company's performance has been hurt by the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it still managed to to top Wall Street’s earnings and sales expectations.

The stock fell 8.49% to $318 in premarket trading.

5. -- Friday's Calendar: Producer Prices and Consumer Sentiment

The U.S. economic calendar for Friday includes the Producer Price Index (Final Demand) for February at 8:30 a.m. ET and Consumer Sentiment for March at 10 a.m.

Economists surveyed by FactSet expect producer prices to have risen 0.4% last month, following January's unexpected increase of 1.3%. Yearly growth is expected at 2.8%.