Stock futures flat as Mnuchin sparks rift with the Federal Reserve


Mnuchin asks Fed to return unused lending money

Wall Street looks set to open little changed on Friday after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday asked the Federal Reserve to return unused funds from its emergency pandemic lending program, prompting criticism from the central bank, which said the program served an important role.

By 5:40 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow were down 37 points, or 0.13% to 29,406. Those for the S&P 500 were down 3.72 points, or 0.1% to 3,576.38 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were flat.

In a letter addressed to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, Mnuchin said the program was successful in its goal, making it possible for consumers, corporations and local and state governments to access funds from private markets at reasonable rates.

“While portions of the economy are still severely impacted and in need of additional fiscal support, financial conditions have responded and the use of these facilities has been limited,” said Mnuchin. “As such, I am requesting that the Federal Reserve return the unused funds to the Treasury.”

The central bank responded to the decision saying it “would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy.”

Pfizer to seek emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) announced they intend to file Friday for emergency use authorization (EUA) of their Covid-19 experimental vaccine candidate, BNT162b2.

In a joint press release, the companies said they had gathered enough safety data to satisfy the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They added that doses of the vaccine would be ready to be distributed within hours of authorization, which could happen by mid next month.

The moves comes just days after the companies said the vaccine appeared to be 95% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 and was well-tolerated in a 44,000-subject trial.

Pfizer shares gained 1.69% to $36.80 in pre-market trading Friday, while BioNTech rose 6.98% to $101.56 each.

Gaming platform Roblox files to go public

Roblox, the child-focused gaming company has submitted a preliminary prospectus for an initial public offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after soaring use during the pandemic.

The California-based company plans to list its shares under the symbol “RBLX” on the New York Stock Exchange. However, the number of share issues and expected proceeds from the IPO is unknown.

Roblox operates with a freemium model and generates the majority of its revenues from in-app purchases. In February, the company said it had 115 million monthly active users.

According to the company, roughly 75% of American children age nine to twelve play Roblox regularly with friends.