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U.S. Stocks May See Initial Strength On Upbeat Vaccine News

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Stocks are likely to move to the upside in early trading on Monday, extending the rally seen in the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 177 points.

The upward momentum on Wall Street comes as traders react to more upbeat news regarding a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) announced that two of the companies' four investigational vaccine candidates received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The companies said they expect to start the next phase of trials as soon as later this month and are anticipating enrolling up to 30,000 subjects.

If the ongoing studies are successful and the vaccine receives regulatory approval, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and potentially more than 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021.

The upbeat news on the vaccine front comes as the U.S. has reported more than 60,000 new coronavirus cases for three days in a row, with Florida seeing a record 15,299 new cases on Sunday.

Nonetheless, overall trading activity may be somewhat subdued on the day as traders look ahead to start of earnings season.

Citigroup (C), Delta Air Lines (DAL) JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), Goldman Sachs (GS), UnitedHealth (UNH), Bank of America (BAC), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and Netflix (NFLX) are among the big-name companies due to report their quarterly results in the coming days.

A lack of major U.S. economic news may also keep some traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of reports on industrial production, retail sales and housing starts later this week.

Following the pullback seen on Thursday, stocks showed a strong move back to the upside during trading on Friday. With the upward move on the day, the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended the session at a new record closing high.

The major averages ended the day just off their highs of the session. The Dow surged up 369.21 points or 1.4 percent to 26,075.30, the Nasdaq climbed 69.69 points or 0.7 percent to 10,617.44 and the S&P 500 jumped 32.99 points or 1.1 percent to 3,185.04.

For the week, the Nasdaq skyrocketed by 4 percent, while the S&P 500 shot up by 1.8 percent the Dow advanced by 1 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index spiked by 2.2 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index surged up by 1.8 percent.

The major European markets have also shown strong moves to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has jumped by 1.3 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 1 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling $0.50 to $40.05 a barrel after advancing $0.93 to $40.55 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, after slipping $1.90 to $1,801.90 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are jumping $12 to $1,813.90 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 107.20 yen versus the 106.93 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1331 compared to last Friday's $1.1300.

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