Dow Futures, Coronavirus, Black Friday and Trump - 5 Things You Must Know Friday

Stock futures post modest gains in what is expected to be a light day of trading; AstraZeneca acknowledges manufacturing discrepancies in the latest trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate; Black Friday could be an online sales blowout.
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Here are five things you must know for Friday, Nov. 27:

1. -- Stock Futures Point Modestly Higher

Stock futures posted modest gains Friday in what is expected to be a light day of trading following the Thanksgiving holiday.

U.S. stock markets will close at 1 p.m. ET on Friday and bond markets will close an hour later.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 55 points, S&P 500 futures were up 9 points and Nasdaq futures gained 75 points.

Equities are coming off a mixed performance Wednesday when the Dow dropped below 30,000 but the Nasdaq posted its 44th record close of 2020.

A rise in U.S. jobless claims for the second week in a row for the first time since the summer dented sentiment, as did a decline in household incomes. The data indicated that a resurgence in the coronavirus was having an effect on the labor market.

In addition, questions surrounding the effectiveness of a coronavirus vaccine candidate from AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Report and the University of Oxford weighed on optimism.

Asian stocks ended Friday's session higher while European shares traded mixed.

For more on Asian markets read:

China's Industrial Giants See Profits in October Grow at Fastest Pace in Nearly Nine Years

2. -- AstraZeneca Acknowledges Discrepancies in Vaccine Data

Shares of AstraZeneca were falling in premarket trading Friday after the U.K. drugmaker acknowledged manufacturing discrepancies following favorable results in the latest trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

American depositary receipts of AstraZeneca declined 1.6% in premarket trading Friday to $51.76.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told Bloomberg in an interview that the company likely was going to conduct an additional global trial as it seeks to confirm the shot's 90% efficacy rate.

The company acknowledged that a lower dosage level that appeared more effective resulted from a manufacturing discrepancy. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford didn’t initially disclose the error and other key details.

“Now that we’ve found what looks like a better efficacy we have to validate this, so we need to do an additional study,” Soriot told Bloomberg. It will probably be another “international study, but this one could be faster because we know the efficacy is high so we need a smaller number of patients.”

Data released earlier this week revealed that when a half dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine was followed by a full dose a month later it showed 90% effectiveness, compared with 62% effectiveness for two full doses.

3. -- Coronavirus - The Latest

The number of confirmed global deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, rose to 1.43 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed cases of the virus across the world have risen to 61,026,993.

The U.S. death toll is 263,455, the most in the world. The number of infected people in the U.S. was 12,883,846.

There were 181,490 new coronavirus cases in the U.S. as of Thursda and 2,297 deaths, according to data from the university.

Hospitalizations in New York state topped 3,000 on Wednesday to their highest level since June 1, Bloomberg reported, while new infections hit 6,933, the highest for seven months.

The positive-test rate in California has risen to 6.1%, near the highest level in three months.

4. -- Adobe Sees Black Friday and Cyber Monday as Largest Online Sales Days Ever

Adobe Analytics said it anticipates online spending levels on Thanksgiving Day to come in below $6B in total sales, with retailers having successfully moved shoppers to buy earlier in the season with early discounts and promotions.

In its latest report on holiday online shopping data, Adobe found that 50% of all transactions were made with smartphones.

It also found that online sales growth was 47% in states with tighter coronavirus-related restrictions.

Adobe reaffirmed its forecast that $189.1 billion would be spent online during November and December, up 31% from a year earlier, and said it expects Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2020 will be the largest two online sales day in history.

Jim Cramer's Approach to Black Friday and Cyber Monday

5. -- Trump Says He'll Leave White House if Biden's Win Formalized

President Donald Trump said he would leave the White House if the Electoral College formalizes President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Taking questions from reporters for the first time since his election defeat, Trump, however, insisted that it would be a "mistake" to affirm Biden's win, issuing baseless claims that the election was riddled with fraud.

He also said it would “be a very hard thing to concede,” even if the Electoral College confirms Biden’s victory.