Stock futures slide; ECB meeting, Yellen remarks, Novavax, and more

Wall Street

Wall Street poised to open lower ahead of ECB meeting

U.S. stock markets were set to open lower on Wednesday as traders awaited the start of a key meeting of the European Central Bank later in the day.

ECB President Christine Lagarde and her fellow policymakers are expected to announce that they will begin hiking interest rates in July in response to record-high inflation in the eurozone.

The ECB has maintained a deposit rate of minus 0.5% since 2014, when Eurozone nations faced struggles in paying off debts they had accumulated over decades.

As of 5 a.m. ET, futures for the blue-chip Dow fell 125 points, or 0.38% to 33,040. S&P 500 futures lost 13.75 points, or 0.335 to 4,145 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures gave away 26.5 points, or 0.21% to 12,685.

Janet Yellen says inflations is at ‘unacceptable levels’

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday told the Senate Finance Committee that inflation is at “unacceptable levels,” and remains a major macroeconomic issue.

“We currently face macroeconomic challenges, including unacceptable levels of inflation as well as the headwinds associated with the disruptions caused by the pandemic’s effect on supply chains, and the effects of supply side disturbances to oil and food markets resulting from Russia’s war in Ukraine,” Yellen said in her prepared testimony before the committee.

She urged lawmakers to pass measures to help cool prices as pressure mounts on President Joe Biden to tame the inflation in 40 years.

Her testimony came just days after she admitted that she and Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell were “wrong” last year, when they repeatedly referred to inflation as “transitory.”

Novavax shares soar 17% after FDA gives nod to its Covid-19 vaccine

Shares in Novavax (NVAX) surged in pre-market trading on Wednesday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee voted unanimously to recommend the company’s Covid-19 vaccine for use in adults.

The vote was 21 in favor of authorizing the two-dose vaccine, with one abstention.

Novavax’s vaccine relies on a more traditional approach than the mRNA-based vaccines from Pfizer (PFE)/BioNTech (BNTX) and Moderna (MRNA) vaccines. Clinical studies of the vaccine have shown it to be 90% effective against Covid-19.

If the FDA accepts the committee’s recommendation on the vaccine, it would become the fourth shot to be approved for use in adults in the country.

Novavax stock jumped 17.98% to $56.09 a piece in the premarket trading session.