US stocks dip as markets eye Covid-19 cases, vaccine

Wall Street stocks declined early Friday as markets weighed worries about rising coronavirus cases against further progress on vaccines to address the pandemic.

US giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech confirmed they would seek approval on Friday to roll out their coronavirus vaccine. They are eyeing December for final approval.

The announcement comes as US coronavirus cases continue to rise, averaging 167,400 cases per day this week and prompting fresh restrictions to slow the outbreak.

About 25 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.4 percent at 29,376.91.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.3 percent to 3,572.86, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.2 percent at 11,880.39.

Markets had a muted reaction to a decision by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin against extending emergency lending facilities established with the Federal Reserve.

Mnuchin said on CNBC that the decision, which was criticized by the Fed, was required by congressional mandates for the funds and that he would urge Congress to redeploy up to $800 billion in funds to small businesses and others who are struggling as the virus depresses economic activity. (AFP)