Dow Jones climbs on vaccine hopes, upbeat retail sales data

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 firmed 2.4% as it expects to provide safety data and file for authorization of the vaccine it is developing with Germany’s BioNTech SE, as soon as a safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November.

BioNTech’s US-listed shares jumped 1.8%.

Latest data showed US retail sales increased more than expected in September, though recovery from the recession is at a crossroads as government money runs out and new COVID-19 infections surge across the country.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary index on consumer sentiment for October came in at 81.2, ahead of the 80.5 forecast.

“Amid a stagnating labor market, the jump in retail sales this month suggests consumer strength is pretty robust,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*TRADE Financial LLC in Jersey City.

“While a resilient consumer is a broad positive for the recovery, today’s results could reduce the pressure on lawmakers to get any stimulus measure through before the election.”

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.

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, one of the technology mega-caps that have benefited from stay-at-home demand during the

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