US equity futures jumped alongside European markets on Monday amid optimism that a pared-down stimulus bill may be imminent, as well as the imminent deployment of the first vaccine in the U.S. Oil continued its ascent above $50, while the dollar dropped.
Dow e-minis were up 251 points, or 0.8%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 29 points, or 0.78%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 77 points, or 0.6%. Among individual movers, Alexion Pharmaceuticals surged 32.3% after British drugmaker AstraZeneca said it would buy the U.S. biotech firm for $39 billion in one of this year’s biggest mergers worldwide. AstraZeneca’s U.S.-listed shares fell 5.3%, dropping to an 8-month low.
Cruise operators Carnival and Royal Caribbean rose 5.5% and 3.5%, respectively, in premarket trade, while stocks of major airline operators rose between 1.5% and 3.0%, with Jetblue Airways Corp leading gains. Travel and leisure stocks are the worst hit by restrictions on movement due to the pandemic, and have reacted positively to any vaccine-related news. Shares of FedEx and United Parcel Service which are leading the vaccine distribution project, rose about 2.2% and 2.1%, respectively. Travel stocks surged on the launch of a nationwide COVID-19 vaccine campaign, while investors held out hope for more local stimulus as bipartisan talks continued. Shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine fanned out to distribution points across the United States on Sunday, with injections set to begin later on Monday.