US STOCKS-Wall St inches higher on Pfizer vaccine update, upbeat consumer data

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 0.7%, S&P 0.4%, Nasdaq 0.1%

 (Updates to early afternoon)
    By Medha Singh and Shivani Kumaresan
    Oct 16 (Reuters) - Wall Street bounced back on Friday after
three straight days of losses, following a positive update from
Pfizer on development of its COVID-19 vaccine and on data that
showed stronger-than-expected retail sales growth last month.
    The drugmaker's shares  PFE.N  firmed 2.6% as it expects to
provide safety data and file for authorization of the vaccine it
is developing with Germany's BioNTech SE  22UAy.F , as soon as a
safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2H72KT
    BioNTech's U.S.-listed shares  BNTX.O  jumped 3.2%.
    Latest data showed U.S. retail sales increased more than
expected in September, though recovery from the recession is at
a crossroads as government money runs out and companies continue
to layoff workers.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2H61J3
    The University of Michigan's preliminary index on consumer
sentiment for October came in at 81.2, ahead of the 80.5
forecast.
    "Even though the backdrop of the economy still shows we are
pulling out of the downturn, the U.S. consumer overall remains
solid," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist, Prudential
Financial, in Newark, New Jersey.
    "However, if a stimulus package is not forthcoming either
before or after the election you could see a leveling off in
consumer spending."
    Trading on Wall Street this week has been dictated by news
about more federal aid to help businesses and households reeling
from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the S&P 500 on
track for its smallest weekly gains in three.
    President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden
will return to the campaign trail with visits to three
battleground states, a day after the two contenders clashed from
afar during dueling televised town halls.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2H702J
    Meanwhile, after a mixed start to the third-quarter earnings
season from the big Wall Street lenders, investors will look
next week to results from Netflix Inc  NFLX.O , one of the
technology mega-caps that have benefited from stay-at-home
demand during the pandemic.
    Analysts' expectations for S&P 500 companies' earnings have
improved to an 18.8% fall from a 25% tumble forecast three
months earlier.
    Six of the 11 major S&P sectors rose, with utilities
 .SPLRCU  and healthcare  .SPXHC  rising the most.
     At 12:48 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI 
rose 209.97 points, or 0.74%, to 28,704.17, the  .SPX  gained
12.59 points, or 0.36%, to 3,495.93 and the  .IXIC  gained 14.42
points, or 0.12%, to 11,728.45.
    Kansas City Southern  KSU.N  shed 2.1% as the railroad
operator's quarterly revenue missed estimates, while
transportation and logistics company J.B. Hunt Transport
Services Inc  JBHT.O  tumbled 8.5% after it missed profit
estimates.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2H72WL
    The Dow Jones Transport index  .DJT  fell 0.8%.
    Schlumberger  SLB.N  slid 8% after the top oilfield services
provider reported a third straight quarterly loss, pulling the
S&P energy index  .SPNY  down 0.5%.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2H72OF
    Stay-at-home winner Peloton Interactive Inc  PTON.O  fell
3.2% after it recalled clip-in pedals on about 27,000 of its
bikes following reports of laceration injuries. (https://bit.ly/3k5iexZ)
    Advancing issues nearly matched decliners on the NYSE, while
they outnumbered decliners for a 1.2-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
    The S&P index recorded 49 new 52-week highs and no new low,
while the Nasdaq recorded 80 new highs and 12 new lows.

 (Reporting by Medha Singh and Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru;
Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)
 ((Medha.Singh@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1646 223 8780,
outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2802; Twitter: https://twitter.com/medhasinghs))

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