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U.S. Stock Futures Rise on Reports Related to Vaccines, Deals

(Bloomberg) — U.S. stock index futures rose in Asia as reports related to coronavirus treatments and corporate acquisitions supported investor sentiment ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting this week.

December contracts on the S&P 500 rose 1% as of 11:05 a.m. in Tokyo after the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc restarted a U.K. trial of a Covid-19 vaccine, while Pfizer Inc. Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said it’s “likely” the U.S. will deploy a treatment to the public before year-end. Separately, Gilead Sciences Inc. agreed to acquire Immunomedics Inc.

Futures on the Nasdaq 100 Index climbed 1.3% after Nvidia Corp. said it agreed to buy SoftBank Group Corp.’s chip division Arm Ltd. A report said TikTok’s parent ByteDance has decided it won’t sell or transfer the algorithm behind the video-sharing app in any sale or divestment. Oracle Corp. has been chosen as the winner in a deal for TikTok’s U.S. operations, Dow Jones reported.

The gain in futures today is “because of Gilead, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, ByteDance and Nvidia,” and it’s a “very name specific rally,” said Ben Emons, the head of global macro strategy at Medley Global Advisors. It’s also “because of the ongoing long positioning in call options and underlying shares,” he said.

With the Fed expected this week to maintain its dovish stance on policy, investors will continue to look out for signs the global economy is recovering from the pandemic. Traders remain on edge as a recent reassessment of valuations and volatility in options markets has raised question marks over the sustainability of the technology-led rally. The S&P 500 Index on Friday capped its second straight weekly loss of more than 2%.

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