US markets head for mix opening with vaccine qualms

By Ovunc Kutlu

ANKARA (AA) – Indexes in the US stock market were heading Tuesday for a mixed opening, a day after their record rally, with uncertainty surrounding the new COVID-19 vaccine.

US drugmaker Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech announcement Monday that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate is more than 90% effective pushed indexes to record high levels, while the manufacturing and distribution timeframe of the vaccine is still unknown.

The companies said they will submit the vaccine candidate to the US government by the third week of this month, but questions remain about the quantity and timeframe to be distributed to the US public and rest of the world.

The first batch would begin to be distributed in December, according to Gen. Gustave F. Perna, the chief operating officer of the Operation Warp Speed — an initiative to facilitate and accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

The Dow Jones on Monday soared to its highest level since February and the S&P 500 marked its second all-time highest closing.

In pre-market hours on Tuesday, the Dow futures were up by 0.5%, while the S&P 500 futures were down 0.4%, signaling a potentially mixed session ahead.

While most stocks are expected to pull back from their Monday highs, precious metals gained Tuesday some of their losses from previous session as gold and silver were up 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively, at 08.55 a.m. EDT (1355 GMT).

Oil prices continued to remain strong with a 1% daily gain, despite persisting weak global demand amid COVID-19, as Brent crude was around $42.89 per barrel and US' West Texas Intermediate was at $40.69 a barrel at that time.