US STOCKS-Wall Street gains on vaccine news, retail sales surprise

Reuters

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    * U.S. retail sales accelerate in September
    * Dow Jones Transport index drops
    * Peloton falls on clip-in pedals recall
    * Indexes up: Dow 0.87%, S&P 0.55%, Nasdaq 0.35%

 (Updates to late afternoon, changes dateline, byline)
    By Stephen Culp
    NEW YORK, Oct 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks advanced on Friday
as further clarity regarding the timeline for the development of
a coronavirus vaccine and upbeat retail sales data and brought
buyers back to the market.
    All three indexes were on track to snap a three-day losing
streak driven by halted vaccine trials and protracted pandemic
relief talks in Washington.
    Still, they all looked set to post gains on the week.
    Pfizer Inc  PFE.N  announced it could apply for U.S.
authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with
German partner BioNTech  22UAy.F  in November. Pfizer's stock
gained 3.4%.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2H72L3
    Retail sales  USRSL=ECI  in September blew past analyst
expectations and consumer sentiment for the current month
surprised to the upside, according to two separate economic
reports. But with previous stimulus having run its course, the
outlook is uncertain unless Washington can reach an agreement on
a fresh round of fiscal aid.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2H61J3
    "This was a strong showing by the consumer," said Peter
Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities
in New York. "Even though we still have high unemployment, the
consumer hasn't changed his spending habits yet." 
    On that front, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that President Donald Trump would
"weigh in" with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell if an
agreement is reached on a new pandemic relief package. House
Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, however, said he does not
expect an agreement to be reached ahead of the Nov. 3 election
as long as Pelosi is involved.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nW1N2EG001  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2H617J
    "Investors are still very much concerned about the
uncertainties around the stimulus talks," said Cardillo. "We
could see something before the election but whoever wins the
election will probably give us a bigger stimulus package which
is desperately needed." 
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  rose 247.49 points,
or 0.87%, to 28,741.69, the S&P 500  .SPX  gained 19.21 points,
or 0.55%, to 3,502.55 and the Nasdaq Composite  .IXIC  added
41.18 points, or 0.35%, to 11,755.05.
    Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but energy
 .SPNY  were in the black.
    Third-quarter reporting season burst from the starting gate
this week, with 49 of the companies in the S&P 500 having
reported. Of those, 86% have cleared the low bar set by
expectations, according to Refinitiv.
    Analysts now see S&P 500 earnings for the July to September
period dropping, in aggregate, by 18.7% year-on-year, an
improvement from the 21.4% plunge estimated at the beginning of
the month, per Refinitiv.
    Oil services company Schlumberger NV  SLB.N  posted its
third straight quarterly loss due to falling crude prices and
plunging demand. Its shares dropped 7.8%.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2H72OF
    Railroad operator Kansas City Southern  KSU.N  shed 2.3% and
transportation and logistics company J.B. Hunt Transport
Services Inc  JBHT.O  tumbled 9.0% after the companies'
quarterly results were hit dropping shipping demand.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2H72WL  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2H72YW
    The Dow Jones Transport index  .DJT , considered a barometer
of economic health, fell 0.8%.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2H71EJ
    Shares of fitness company Peloton Interactive Inc  PTON.O 
were down 3.6% after announcing a recall of faulty pedals on its
popular exercise bikes. 
    Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.22-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.37-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
    The S&P 500 posted 50 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 91 new highs and 15 new lows.  

 (Reporting by Stephen Culp
Editing by Marguerita Choy)
 ((stephen.culp@thomsonreuters.com; 646-223-6076;))

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