Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
- Stock futures rise one day after Wall Street's big rally
- November jobs growth misses, unemployment rate really drops
- FDA prepares for quick review of omicron vaccines, drugs, WSJ says
- Five states in U.S., including NY and Calif, confirm omicron cases
- Biden expected to sign short-term government spending bill
1. Stock futures rise one day after Wall Street's big rally
U.S. stock futures rose Friday after the Labor Department's before-the-bell release of its November data showed slowing jobs growth and a big miss compared to expectations. But at the same time, the nation's unemployment rate fell much more than expected. Investors are weighing backward-looking jobs numbers against rising cases of the Covid omicron variant, trying to figure out if the Federal Reserve will indeed accelerate the tapering of its monthly bond purchases.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 617 points or 1.8% on Thursday even as more omicron cases in the U.S. were being reported. The first U.S. case reported the day before swung the benchmark from a 520-point gain to a 460-point loss. The Dow fell more than 1.8% on Tuesday after a brief respite Monday. Blue chips sank 2.5% in last Friday's holiday-shortened session after omicron was revealed to have been discovered in South Africa.
In Friday's premarket, shares of DocuSign plunged more than 30%, the morning after issuing weak forward guidance. Shares of Tesla rose slightly as CEO Elon Musk exercised more options, bringing his recent stock sales to $10.9 billion. Shares of Didi Global dropped roughly 10% after the Chinese ride-hailing firm announced plans to delist from the New York Stock Exchange and pursue a listing in Hong Kong instead. The stock has dropped more than 45% from its IPO price in July.
2. November jobs growth misses, unemployment rate really drops
The U.S. economy created just 210,000 nonfarm jobs in November, the government said Friday. That was much lower than the 573,000 reading that was projected. October was revised up to 546,000. The unemployment rate last month fell sharply to 4.2%, a positive sign compared to the smaller dip to 4.5% that economists expected. Average hourly earnings, a measure of wage inflation, rose 4.8% year-over-year in November. That was slightly below estimates. Earlier this week, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank could speed up the tapering of its $120 billion per month bond-buying program, which it put in place to prop up the economy during the pandemic. Powell said the Fed will discuss the possible move at its December meeting.
3. FDA prepares for quick review of omicron vaccines, drugs, WSJ says
The Food and Drug Administration is getting ready for a rapid review of omicron-specific vaccines and treatments should they be needed, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter. The Journal also reports that the agency has been meeting with drugmakers to set guidelines for what data would be needed for quick evaluation. The CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna told CNBC on Nov. 29 that it will take about a couple of weeks to gather enough data to determine what impact omicron's mutations have on the effectiveness of the current vaccines.
4. Five states in U.S., including NY and Calif, confirm omicron cases
At least five U.S. states — Minnesota, Colorado, New York, Hawaii and California — have now confirmed cases of omicron as scientists investigate whether the heavily mutated strain is more infectious and virulent. California confirmed the first U.S. case of omicron on Wednesday. Minnesota public health authorities on Thursday morning confirmed the second U.S. case of omicron, in a resident who recently returned from New York City. Thursday evening, New York confirmed five cases. Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told residents that detection of multiple cases does not mean the state will revert to the sweeping shutdowns imposed during the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
5. Biden expected to sign short-term government spending bill
President Joe Biden on Friday is expected to sign the newly approved short-term government spending bill. The legislation, which was swiftly passed by the House and the Senate on Thursday, forestalls a government shutdown for the time being, providing federal funding through Feb. 18. While preventing one fiscal crisis, lawmakers still need to avert another, figuring out how to increase the nation's debt ceiling to pay its bills before Dec. 15. That's when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the limit would be reached. It's almost two weeks later than her initial forecast of Dec. 3.