Boeing, Tesla, Pfizer, Nvidia, Target - 5 Things You Must Know Wednesday

Stock futures trade cautiously higher as Wall Street weighs progress on a coronavirus vaccine against a rise in infection numbers; the flight ban on Boeing's 737 MAX is lifted Wednesday; Morgan Stanley is bullish on Tesla.

Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Nov. 18:

1. -- Stock Futures Point Higher

Stock futures rose Wednesday after Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report said its coronavirus vaccine candidate reached a 95% efficacy rate, topping that of Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Report, following final analysis of its late stage trials.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 171 points, S&P 500 futures gained 15 points and Nasdaq futures were up 25 points. 

Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get Report, said the efficacy rate of the vaccine was consistent across all age and race demographics and based on a total case cohort of 170. Interim results published last week indicated an efficacy rate of 90% from a cohort of around 94 patients.

The companies said they will apply for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in the coming days. 

Wall Street has been encouraged by progress toward development of a coronavirus vaccine but remains keenly aware that a shot remains months away while infection numbers continue to rise.  

Stocks ended lower Tuesday as optimism about a coronavirus vaccine faded somewhat with the reality that the pandemic continues to escalate in the U.S. and across the globe. A decline in U.S. retail sales also served as “a warning shot that Covid-19 is still with us, and its effects will not miraculously disappear overnight,” said Jeffrey Halley of Oanda.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that while positive results from coronavirus vaccine trials were “certainly good news, particularly in the medium term, in the near term there are significant challenges and uncertainties. Even in the best case, widespread vaccination is months into the future.”

He added that the U.S. economy has a “long way to go” before it returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asking they meet to restart stalled negotiations on another coronavirus relief package. The two sides haven't discussed the relief bill since the Nov. 3 presidential election.

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

For more on Asian markets read:

RCEP a ‘Wake-Up Call’ for Europe and the U.S. to Unite Against China

2. -- Nvidia, Lowe's and Target Report Earnings

Target  (TGT) - Get Report reported adjusted earnings of $2.79 a share in the third quarter, beating forecasts of $1.60. Revenue of $22.63 billion topped estimates of $20.77 billion. Comparable-store sales rose 9.9%.

Lowe's  (LOW) - Get Report reported third-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.98 a share, meeting analysts' forecasts. Revenue of $22.31 billion in the quarter and U.S. same-store sales growth of 30.4% beat Wall Street forecasts.

Earnings reports are also expected Wednesday from Nvidia  (NVDA) - Get Report, TJX Cos.  (TJX) - Get Report, Sonos  (SONO) - Get Report and L Brands  (LB) - Get Report.

Nvidia Reports Earnings on Wednesday: 5 Key Things to Watch

Nvidia is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells the stock? Learn more now.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes MBA Mortgage Applications for the week ended Nov. 13 at 7 a.m. ET, Housing Starts and Permits for October at 8:30 a.m. and Oil Inventories for the week ended Nov. 13 at 10:30 a.m.

3. -- Boeing 737 MAX Flight Ban Lifted

The flight ban on Boeing's  (BA) - Get Report 737 MAX was lifted Wednesday by the Federal Aviation Administration.

FAA Administrator Steven Dickson said he was "100% confident" in the safety of the aircraft after rescinding a 20-month old order that allows the plane to resume commercial flights. The 737 MAX was grounded in March 2019 following two crashes that killed 346 people. The crashes ultimately were linked to the jet's navigation system.

The FAA will detail software upgrades and training changes the plane maker must make in order for it to resume commercial flights, Reuters reported.

The FAA also said it would no longer allow Boeing to sign off on the airworthiness of about 450 already-built 737 MAXs. The agency, therefore, plans in-person, individual inspections that could take a year or more to complete, prolonging the jets’ delivery, Reuters noted.

American Airlines  (AAL) - Get Report has said it plans to relaunch 737 MAX flights at the end of December. Southwest Airlines  (LUV) - Get Report said it would fly the aircraft beginning in the second quarter of 2021.

Boeing shares were up 5.5% to $221.61 in premarket trading Wednesday.

4. -- Morgan Stanley Is Bullish on Tesla

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report was rising 2% in premarket trading, extending Tuesday's sharp gains, after Morgan Stanley gave shares of the electric vehicle maker an overweight rating for the first time in more than three years.

Morgan Stanley predicted that Tesla was on the verge of a “profound model shift” from selling cars to generating high-margin software and services revenue, according to a report from Bloomberg.

“To only value Tesla on car sales alone ignores the multiple businesses embedded within the company,” analyst Adam Jonas wrote in a note.

He upgraded the shares from equal-weight and boosted his price target by 50% to $540 a share.

Tesla rose 2.05% to $450.86 a share in premarket trading Wednesday. The stock gained 8.21% on Tuesday after the electric vehicle maker was admitted to the S&P 500.

5. -- NIO Posts Jump in Vehicle Sales

U.S.-listed shares of NIO  (NIO) - Get Report were higher in premarket trading after the Chinese maker of electric vehicles said sales more than doubled in the latest quarter.

Vehicle sales jumped 146% in the September quarter from a year earlier to 4.27 billion yuan ($650 million). Revenue in the quarter was $667 million, higher than analysts' estimates, and up from $262.9 million a year earlier.

Nio said it delivered 12,206 vehicles in the latest quarter, a 150% increase from the same period a year earlier, and from 10,331 in the second quarter. 

“We expect to deliver 16,500 to 17,000 vehicles in the coming fourth quarter,” said William Bin Li, NIO's founder, chairman and CEO, in a statement.

American depositary receipts of NIO rose 3.63% to $48.28.