American, United, Goldman Sachs, Moderna - 5 Things You Must Know Thursday

Stock futures rise amid signs of progress toward a fifth coronavirus aid package; American and United begin furloughs of 32,000 employees; Goldman Sachs resumes job cuts.

Here are five things you must know for Thursday, Oct. 1:

1. -- Stock Futures Rise on Signs of Progress Toward Aid Package

Stock futures traded higher Thursday amid signs of progress toward a fifth coronavirus aid package.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 250 points, S&P 500 futures were up 32 points and Nasdaq futures gained 153 points.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “made a lot of progress in a lot of areas” in talks they held Wednesday. Pelosi said the two “found areas where we are seeking further clarification,” but added that talks with the Treasury secretary would continue. 

The House is expected to vote on its slimmed down $2.2 billion aid proposal later Thursday, though the legislation has little chance of passing in the Senate.

Stocks rose Wednesday as renewed hopes for a stimulus package overshadowed worries about a contested election following an acrimonious debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

The Dow finished up 329 points, or 1.2%, to 27,781, the S&P 500 gained 0.83% and the Nasdaq rose 0.74%. 

Stocks in September posted their first monthly losses since March but did end the third quarter higher. The Dow rose 7.6%, the S&P 500 gained 8.5%, and the Nasdaq surged 11% over the past three months.

2. -- Thursday's Calendar: Jobless Claims, PepsiCo Earnings

The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, Personal Income and Outlays for August at 8:30 a.m., PMI Manufacturing Final for September at 9:45 a.m., the ISM Manufacturing Index for September at 10 a.m. and Construction Spending for August at 10 a.m.

PepsiCo  (PEP) - Get PepsiCo, Inc. Report reported stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings and forecast solid full-year profit as pandemic snack sales continued to pace top-line growth. 

Bed Bath & Beyond  (BBBY) - Get Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. Report, Conagra Brands  (CAG) - Get Conagra Brands, Inc. Report and Constellation Brands  (STZ) - Get Constellation Brands, Inc. Class A Report also are expected to post earnings Thursday.

How PepsiCo Can Finally Break Out to New Highs on Earnings

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3. -- American and United to Begin Furloughs of 32,000 Employees

American Airlines  (AAL) - Get American Airlines Group, Inc. Report will begin furloughing 19,000 employees and United Airlines  (UAL) - Get United Airlines Holdings, Inc. Report will lay off 13,000 workers after lawmakers failed to agree on a coronavirus relief package.

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The airlines, however, said they would reverse the cuts if the U.S. government provided the funds the industry needs over the next few days.

The coronavirus aid proposal put forward by House Democrats includes $25 billion in payroll aid for airlines, which have suffered from a steep fall in travel demand during the pandemic.

“I am extremely sorry we have reached this outcome,” said American CEO Doug Parker in a letter to employees. “It is not what you all deserve.”

The airlines had received $25 billion in funding under the CARES Act that was enacted in March but had to promise not to cut jobs until Oct. 1.

American shares rose 1.46% to $12.47 in premarket trading Thursday, while United was up 2.45% to $35.60.

4. -- Goldman Sachs Resumes Job Cuts

Goldman Sachs Group  (GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) Report will cut about 400 positions after the bank paused layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The job cuts - which will take place across the bank - amount to less than 1% of Goldman's workforce.

"At the outbreak of the pandemic, the firm announced that it would suspend any job reductions," said Pat Scanlan, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs. “The firm has made a decision to move forward with a modest number of layoffs.”

JPMorgan Chase JPM, the most profitable U.S. bank with more than 256,000 employees, has begun cutting about 80 jobs at the consumer unit and dozens more across other lines of business, Bloomberg reported, citing a person briefed on the changes. A spokeswoman confirmed the reductions were part of a review of resources the bank conducts each year. 

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5. -- Moderna CEO Says Vaccine Won't Be Ready Before U.S. Election

Moderna's  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report coronavirus vaccine candidate won't be ready before the Nov. 3  presidential election, CEO Stephane Bancel told the Financial Times.

The CEO told the Financial Times that Moderna wouldn't seek emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration before Nov. 25 at the earliest, and added he doesn't expect to receive full approval to distribute the drug in the U.S. until next spring.

Bancel told the FT that Nov. 25 "is the time we will have enough safety data to be able to put into an EUA file that we would send to the FDA - assuming that the safety data is good, i.e. a vaccine is deemed to be safe.”

President Donald has been pushing for a coronavirus vaccine before the election but even officials within his own government have suggested it could take months before a vaccine is ready.

Moderna shares were up 1.2% in premarket trading to $71.60.