Here are five things you must know for Friday, Sept. 25:
1. -- Stock Futures Fall on Fiscal Stimulus Worries
Stock futures fell Friday as investors turned their attention to the possibility of a new stimulus package in the United States but cast doubts on its passage.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 134 points, S&P 500 futures fell 12 26 points and Nasdaq futures were down 14 points.
Democrats in the House have begun drafting a stimulus proposal of about $2.4 trillion. The package is smaller than a previous $3.4 trillion plan the House passed in May, but remains above what Senate Republicans have said they would accept. President Donald Trump said he wouldn't go higher than $1.5 trillion.
The bill could get passed by the House next week, according to Bloomberg.
“This stimulus deal needs to go through,” said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp. “With the risks building up everywhere you look, it doesn’t seem to be a great time to be trying to pick the bottom of equity markets, but a stimulus relief bill will go a long way to nudging the market along.”
Prospects for stimulus talks lifted stocks on Thursday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he planned to resume fiscal-stimulus talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which overshadowed disappointing U.S. jobless numbers and a resurgence of global coronavirus cases.
Mnuchin told a Senate Banking Committee hearing Thursday that a targeted pandemic relief package was “still needed."
2. -- Costco's Fiscal-Year Profit Reaches $4 Billion
Costco Wholesale (COST) - Get Report posted an increase of 27% in fourth-quarter earnings and for the first time reached $4 billion of profit in a fiscal year as shoppers stocked up on essential goods during the coronavirus pandemic.
For the quarter ended Aug. 30, the membership-based retailer earned $3.13 a share on revenue of $53.38 billion, compared with year-earlier earnings of $2.47 a share on revenue of $47.5 billion.
The quarter included $281 million of pretax expenses related to Covid-19 premium wages and sanitation costs.
Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of $2.85 a share on revenue of $52.11 billion.
Comparable-store sales for the quarter climbed 11% in the U.S., 9.1% in Canada and 16.1% internationally.
Memberships revenue in the period rose to $1.11 billion from $1.05 billion.
Fiscal-year net income rose 9.3% to $4 billion from $3.66 billion as revenue rose to $163.2 billion from $152.7 billion.
The stock fell 2.31% in premarket trading Friday to $339.12.
"Although there is some profit-taking ... we think a good dip could be a good buying opportunity because Costco is one of the safest retailers to shop at in the pandemic and the retailer is building momentum into the all-important Halloween and holiday seasons, which (CEO Richard) Galanti said Costco is approaching with relative optimism based on the strength they are currently seeing," said Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS team, which holds Costco in its portfolio.
3. -- Novavax Begins Phase 3 Covid-19 Vaccine Trial in U.K.
The Novavax study is expected to enroll up to 10,000 participants aged between 18 and 84 years and comes after the vaccine candidate produced high levels of antibodies against the coronavirus in an early-stage clinical trial.
Up to 400 people in the study also will get a seasonal flu vaccine to gauge the potential of administering a Covid shot alongside a flu shot, Bloomberg reported.
The Gaithersburg, Md., company also said it had begun the planning for a larger, 30,000-person U.S. study that would begin enrolling volunteers in mid-October.
The stock rose 6.37% to $108.97 in premarket trading Friday.
4. -- Palantir Could Be Valued at $22 Billion in Trading debut
Palantir Technologies, the data-analytics software specialist that is expected to make its public trading debut on Sept. 30, could fetch $10 a share, according to a report.
Palantir’s bankers have told investors the stock could start trading around that level, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. That would equate to a market valuation of nearly $22 billion on a fully diluted basis.
The company is going public through a direct listing, rather than through a traditional initial public offering.
Palantir said earlier this week its share price averaged $9.17 in private sales on Sept. 1, higher than August's $7.31.
The company also said that for the third quarter it expected revenue of $278 million to $280 million, representing year-over-year growth of 46% to 47%. Palantir said it expected non-GAAP operating income of $60 million to $62 million during the period.
5. -- Google Says Service Disruptions Resolved
The outages seemed to be focused around the eastern coast of the United States, The New York Times reported, citing Downdetector, a website that tracks internet disruptions. User began having trouble accessing Google websites starting at around 8:50 p.m. ET. Services appeared to be operating normally around 10 p.m.
Google didn't provide a reason for the disruption. The company is investigating the cause of the outage and has ruled out a cyberattack, the Times reported, citing a person with knowledge of the situation.
"The problem with Gmail should be resolved," Google said on its G Suite Status Dashboard. "We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better."