US stocks were set for narrow gains Wednesday, rising for a third consecutive day on easing concerns about the COVID-19 omicron variant as Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) said their vaccine can nullify it.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 34 points or 0.1%, S&P 500 futures gained 6 points or 0.1%, and Nasdaq futures increased 14 points or 0.1%.
Equities have recovered from last week's fallout after the White House's chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, downplayed the variant's severity, saying signs are "a bit encouraging."
Meanwhile, Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday preliminary results from a laboratory study showed their coronavirus vaccine can neutralize omicron after three doses.
Oil prices were mixed, with front-month global benchmarks Brent crude up 0.1% and US West Texas Intermediate crude down 0.4%, after industry data showed a weekly fall in US crude stockpiles.
At 10 am ET, data are expected to show US job openings based on the Labor Department's job openings and labor turnover survey, or JOLTS, report predicted at 10.469 million for October versus September's 10.438 million, according to Bloomberg data.
In other world markets, Japan's Nikkei closed 1.4% higher, Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed 0.06% higher, and China's Shanghai Composite closed 1.2% higher. Meanwhile, UK's FTSE 100 gained 0.2% and Germany's DAX index slipped 0.6% in Europe's early afternoon session.
On the winning side, Lexaria Bioscience (LEXX) shares soared 15% after the company reported clinical data showing that DehydraTECH-processed cannabidiol reduces arterial stiffness. CooTek (CTK) shares rose 23% after the company swung to a Q3 adjusted profit.
On the losing side, Starwood Property Trust (STWD) shares fell 3% after the company priced a $397.1 million offering of common stock. Stitch Fix (SFIX) shares declined 25% after the company swung to a fiscal Q1 loss on higher revenue, and Toll Brothers (TOL) shares fell 0.6% after the company posted higher fiscal Q4 earnings and revenue.