Pfizer, Uber, Lyft, General Electric - 5 Things You Must Know Friday

Pfizer and partner BioNTech say their Covid-19 vaccine candidate is on track for regulatory review as soon as October; Uber and Lyft to continue operating in California; General Electric extends CEO Larry Culp's contract.

Here are five things you must know for Friday, Aug. 21:

1. -- Stock Futures Mixed on Wall Street 

Stock futures fluctuated Friday as worries over a global economic recovery offset positive developments on a coronavirus vaccine.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 6 points, S&P 500 futures declined 1 point and Nasdaq futures were up 7 points.

Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report and its German partner BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Sponsored ADR Report said their Covid-19 vaccine candidate was on track for regulatory review as soon as October.

The vaccine news boosted sentiment despite ongoing uncertainty about global growth, said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

That uncertainty was evident Thursday after the number of Americans who filed for first-time unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly.

Stocks finished higher Thursday, however, after tech shares rose, offsetting economic worries.

Joe Biden accepted the Democratic party’s nomination for president Thursday evening, and said in his acceptance speech that President Donald Trump has "failed in his most basic duty to the nation. He's failed to protect us. He's failed to protect America, and my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable.

"As president, I'll make you a promise: I'll protect Americans. I will defend us from every attack - seen and unseen - always, without exception, every time," Biden added.

2. -- Pfizer and BioNTech Vaccine on Track for October Regulatory Review

Both Pfizer and BioNTech were rising in premarket trading after the companies said their Covid-19 vaccine candidate would move into final-stage testing. 

The companies said the vaccine "was well tolerated with mild to moderate fever in fewer than 20% of the participants."

Pfizer and BioNTech said late Thursday they were continuing to analyze data from the Phase 1 trials in the U.S. and Germany.

“The totality of the clinical and preclinical data informed Pfizer and BioNTech’s decision to select BNT162b2 as the lead candidate to advance into pivotal trials," said Kathrin U. Jansen, Pfizer's senior vice president and head of vaccine research and development.

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Pfizer rose 1.24% to $39.20 in premarket trading and BioNTech jumped 8.63% to $71.99.

Pfizer last month agreed to provide 600 million doses of its developing coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. government. Pfizer and BioNTech will receive $1.95 billion for the first 100 million doses of their BNT162b2 vaccine, once it is approved by regulators, with the potential for a further 500 million doses to be manufactured thereafter.

3. -- Uber and Lyft to Continue Operating in California After Court Order

An appeals court said ride-hailing giants Uber  (UBER) - Get Uber Technologies, Inc. Report and Lyft  (LYFT) - Get Lyft Inc Class A Report could continue classifying their drivers as independent contractors in California.

A California appeals court issued an emergency stay to a state law that would have required Uber and Lyft to reclassify their drivers as employees by Friday.

The two companies can continue operating as normal while the court weighs their appeal. Oral arguments are set to begin in mid-October.

Lyft had said Thursday prior to the appeal's court ruling that it would have suspended its California operations to avoid having to abide by the law. Uber had said it was considering the same strategy. 

“We are glad that the court of appeals recognized the important questions raised in this case, and that access to these critical services won’t be cut off while we continue to advocate for drivers’ ability to work with the freedom they want,” Uber said in a statement.

4. -- Deere and Foot Locker Report Earnings

Deere  (DE) - Get Deere & Company Report reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $2.57 a share, topping estimates of $1.26. Revenue of $8.93 billion topped Wall Street forecasts.

Foot Locker  (FL) - Get Foot Locker, Inc. Report also is scheduled to report earnings Friday.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes the PMI Composite Flash for August at 9:45 a.m. ET and Existing Home Sales for July at 10 a.m.

5. -- General Electric Extends CEO Culp's Employment Contract

General Electric  (GE) - Get General Electric Company (GE) Report extended the employment contract of CEO Larry Culp by two years through August 2024.

The board of GE also approved a one-time equity performance grant to Culp, making it easier for him to collect as much as $230 million at the end of his contract, according to Bloomberg.

Culp was hired in 2018.

Shares of General Electric rose 0.32% in premarket trading to $6.29. The stock has fallen nearly 44% so far in 2020.