Wall Street climbs on vaccine hopes, upbeat retail

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By Medha Singh and Shivani Kumaresan, Reuters

Wall Street bounced back on Friday after three straight days of losses as Pfizer said it could apply for emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate as early as November, while data showed stronger-than-expected retail sales growth last month.

The drugmaker’s shares firmed 1.4% as it expects to provide safety data and file for authorization of the vaccine, which it is developing with Germany’s BioNTech SE, as soon as a safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November.

BioNTech’s U.S.-listed shares jumped 2.8%.

“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.”

Latest data showed U.S. 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.

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.

Talks between Democrats and Republicans also seem unlikely to yield a deal before the Nov. 3 election.

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

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