5 things to know before the stock market opens Wednesday

Here's the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:

  • Dow set to resume its rally
  • Boeing shares give Dow futures a lift after 737 Max cleared to return
  • Target, Lowe's report third-quarter earnings
  • Pfizer releases Covid-19 vaccine final data analysis
  • U.S. cases spike as another senator gets Covid-19

1. Dow set to resume its rally

Dow futures pointed to a 150 point gain at Wednesday's open after a rip-roaring rally to record highs this week took a pause. There are a number of before-the-bell developments that Wall Street is watching.

  • The FAA cleared Boeing's 737 Max to fly again. The fleet had been grounded for nearly two years after two of the jets crashed and killed a total of 346 people.
  • Two major retailers reported earnings: Target crushed estimates on quarterly earnings and revenue, while Lowe's saw quarterly earnings come up short.
  • Pfizer and BioNTech said that a final data analysis found their coronavirus vaccine was 95% effective and appeared to fend off severe Covid-19.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 167 points, or 0.6%, on Tuesday, one day after its first closing record high since February. The S&P 500, which also closed at a record the previous session, dropped 0.5%. The Nasdaq fell 0.2%, putting the tech-heavy index about 1.3% from its record high close.

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2. Boeing shares give Dow futures a lift

The 7% surge in Dow component Boeing gave the 30-stock average another leg up in the premarket. The embattled aircraft maker Wednesday morning received approval from the FAA to put its 737 Max fleet back in service. The move comes after numerous congressional hearings on the crashes that led to criticism of the FAA for lax oversight and Boeing for rushing to implement a new software system, ultimately leading to the firing of its CEO.

3. Target, Lowe's report third-quarter earnings

Shares of Target jumped 2.8% in the premarket after the retailer Wednesday reported adjusted per-share third-quarter earnings of $2.79, more than a dollar better than estimates. Total revenue grew 21% to $22.63 billion and same-store sales rose 20.7%. Both exceeded estimates.

Shares of Lowe's sank 6.4% in the premarket after the home improvement chain reported adjusted third-quarter earnings of $1.98 per share, slightly lower than estimates, and a dimmer profit outlook. Revenue rose 28% to $22.31 billion and same-store sales jumped 30.1%. Both topped expectations.

4. Pfizer releases Covid vaccine final data analysis

Shares of Pfizer and BioNTech rose in the premarket after they announced Wednesday that final data analysis showed their Covid-19 vaccine was 95% effective. That's up from the more than 90% efficacy based on interim analysis released Nov. 9. Two days later, Moderna said preliminary late-stage trial data showed its vaccine was 94.5% effective. Both shots are based on a new approach to vaccines that uses genetic material to provoke an immune response. Pfizer plans to submit an application to the FDA for emergency use authorization "within days."

The FDA has approved for emergency use the first Covid test that can be conducted entirely at home. The single-use prescription test from privately held Lucira Health provides results within 30 minutes. Lucira Health puts the cost per test at around $50. The company said the test is expected to be available nationally by early spring.

5. U.S. cases spike as another senator gets Covid

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, public health officials are warning about the risk of a holiday-fueled surge in coronavirus spread. Doctors are urging families to stick to small gatherings on Thanksgiving or to stay at home entirely. The seven-day average of daily new U.S. cases rose to 157,318, another record high. As of Tuesday, a record 76,823 people were hospitalized with Covid in the U.S.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, 87, has tested positive for coronavirus. He tweeted he's "feeling good." The Iowa Republican, who is president pro tempore of the Senate, presided over votes Monday. He's high up in the presidential line of succession, behind Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Grassley becomes the sixth senator to test positive for Covid-19. At least three House members have tested positive this month.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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