US stocks flat as Pfizer, Moderna shares tumble

People walk on Wall St. outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York August 7, 2019. — Reuters pic
People walk on Wall St. outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York August 7, 2019. — Reuters pic

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NEW YORK, May 6 — Wall Street stocks were little changed early today following upbeat US jobs data, while both Pfizer and Moderna slumped on worries about diminished profits from Covid-19 vaccines.

US Labor Department said new applications for unemployment benefits fell to 498,000 last week, a new low since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The figures come ahead of Friday’s highly-anticipated government jobs report for April, which is expected to show blowout employment gains. 

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1 per cent at 34,256.18.

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.1 per cent to 4,163.75, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.3 per cent to 13,544.67.

Markets have been choppy this week as investors have weighed improving economic data against worries over rising inflation and a potential shift in Federal Reserve monetary policy sooner than expected.

Pfizer fell 2.5 per cent and Moderna tumbled 8.5 per cent after the Biden administration backed a global waiver on patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines in an effort to get the doses out to poor countries more rapidly.

The decision clouds the profit outlook for both companies after Pfizer said earlier this week it expected a “durable” revenue stream from Covid-19 vaccines and boosters.

Moderna on Thursday reported first-quarter profits of US$1.2 billion (RM4.9 billion), compared with a US$124 million loss in the year-ago period. — AFP

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