Gilead, Boeing, Facebook, Moderna, China GDP - 5 Things You Must Know Friday

Stock futures rise sharply on promising results of a Gilead drug to treat patients with Covid-19; President Trump outlines guidelines for reopening the U.S. economy; Boeing to resume airplane production in the Seattle area.
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Here are five things you must know for Friday, April 17:

1. -- Stock Futures Jump on Hopes for Coronavirus Treatment

Stock futures rose sharply Friday on promising results of a drug to treat patients with the deadly Covid-19 disease and after President Donald Trump outlined guidelines for reopening the U.S. economy.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 704 points, futures for the S&P 500 gained 82 points and Nasdaq futures jumped 198 points.

Shares of Gilead Sciences  (GILD) - Get Report soared 10.79% to $84.80 in premarket trading Friday following a report that said most of the 125 Covid-19 patients taking the antiviral drug remdesivir in a Chicago trial were discharged within a week

The report from medical news publication STAT said a group of patients being treated were “seeing rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms.”

Trump, meanwhile, outlined plans to reopen the economy in three phases though the White House has yet to ensure that testing for the coronavirus will be made more readily available as has been urged by business leaders and infectious disease experts.

Pressure to reopen the U.S. economy has been growing and it intensified after data showed about 22 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits since the middle of March, when shutdown orders began to be implemented.

Investors on Friday mostly looked past a sharp contraction in China's gross domestic product. Growth declined 6.8% in the first quarter from a year earlier, marking the worst performance for the world's second-largest economy since at least 1992.

Earnings reports are expected Friday from Procter & Gamble  (PG) - Get Report, Schlumberger  (SLB) - Get Report and State Street  (STT) - Get Report.

2. -- Coronavirus - The Latest

The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 2,160,170, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and deaths increased to 145,593.

The U.S. has 671,425 cases of the coronavirus, the most in the world, according to Johns Hopkins CSSE. Deaths in the U.S. have risen to 33,286, also the most in the world.

The number of reported deaths in the U.S. from coronavirus spiked Thursday to 4,591, nearly double the prior 24-hour record, The Wall Street Journal reported after it analyzed data from Johns Hopkins.

Donald Trump's guidelines for reopening the U.S. economy could see workers in some states back on the job by the middle of May as social distancing practices are eased. 

Places with declining infections and strong testing would begin a three-phase gradual reopening of businesses and schools.

“We can begin the next front in our war,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “We’re opening up our country. We have to do that.” 

3. -- Boeing to Resume Airplane Production in Seattle

Boeing  (BA) - Get Report said it would resume airplane production at its Seattle-area facilities beginning next week, a move that affects about 27,000 jobs.

The airplane maker said work on its 737, 747, 767 and 777 models will resume as early as April 20, with most employees back by April 21. Employees working on the company’s 787 model will return beginning April 23, with most back by April 24, the company said.

The company suspended production last month as the spread of the coronavirus accelerated. Washington state was among the first areas in the U.S. hit by the disease.

Boeing shares jumped 9.51% to $147.

4. -- Facebook Allows Work-From-Home Until End of May

Facebook  (FB) - Get Report said a "vast majority" of its employees won't return to the company's offices until the end of May at the earliest, and said it would cancel all physical events it planned to host through June 2021 on concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

"We will require the vast majority of our employees to work from home through at least the end of May in order to create a safer environment both for our employees doing critical jobs who must be in the office and for everyone else in our local communities," CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post

Zuckerberg added that employees who don't feel comfortable working from the social media giant's offices could continue to work remotely at least through this summer.

5. -- Moderna Gets $483 Million Funding for Coronavirus Vaccine

Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Report will receive $483 million from the U.S. government to accelerate development and testing of its Covid-19 vaccine.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded Moderna the funds for development of the vaccine mRNA-1273 and through the drug's approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

Moderna has started Phase 1 trials of the vaccine. The company said a Phase 2 study would begin in the second quarter and Phase 3 testing could begin as soon as the fall.

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