By Joe Wallace 

U.S. stock futures rose Wednesday as investors cheered promising results from the study of an experimental coronavirus vaccine while awaiting earnings from more of the nation's biggest financial companies.

Futures tied to the S&P 500 ticked up 0.8%, signaling a second day of gains for the benchmark index. European stocks also advanced, led by travel-and-leisure companies. Shares fell in China and Hong Kong after President Trump signed into law a sanctions bill to punish Chinese officials over Beijing's crackdown on Hong Kong.

Investor sentiment was lifted by new details released late Tuesday about the first human study of Moderna's vaccine. The results showed that the vaccine induced the desired immune response for all 45 people evaluated. Researchers said the study reinforced their decision to take the shot into a large, decisive clinical trial scheduled to start in late July.

"Every time we get some sort of positive news on the vaccine front, then understandably markets benefit from that," said Paul Jackson, head of asset-allocation research at Invesco. "The way it's looking at the moment, it really looks as though a vaccine is the only hope. This thing is not going away."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious-disease expert, said the large study could yield an answer by year-end about whether the vaccine induced immune responses sufficient to protect people safely from Covid-19. A positive answer would clear the way for wider use and potentially help curb the pandemic.

Coronavirus infections and deaths continued to climb in the U.S. Tuesday, with several states hitting records. Florida reported 132 new coronavirus-related deaths, its highest single-day tally since the pandemic began, and 9,194 new cases.

Investors will later parse second-quarter results from Goldman Sachs Group, U.S. Bancorp and PNC Financial Services Group, all due to report earnings before the opening bell in New York. JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo on Tuesday signaled the worst of the recession is yet to come, and opted to stow away tens of billions of dollars to prepare for an expected wave of loan losses.

Investors will probably receive fresh cues about the state of the U.S. economic recovery when the Federal Reserve releases industrial-production data for June at 9:15 a.m. ET. The figures are expected to show production continued to rebound, led by the auto industry.

Overseas, the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.8%, with gains for airline and cruise-line stocks. China's Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.6% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed largely flat after Mr. Trump signed the bipartisan sanctions bill into law.

The legislation requires sanctions targeting Chinese officials who crack down on the rights of Hong Kong residents to free speech and peaceful assembly, as well as the banks that do business with those officials. The president also said he had signed an executive order that would end preferential treatment for Hong Kong, a blow to its status as a financial center.

Oil prices rose ahead of a committee meeting at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Producers led by Saudi Arabia are expected to recommend that the cartel and its allies taper output curbs that have boosted crude prices over the past three months. Brent-crude futures ticked up 0.5% to $40.48 a barrel.

In a sign of the upbeat mood among investors, the yield on 10-year Treasury notes edged up to 0.625%, from 0.614% Tuesday. The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of other currencies, slipped 0.2%.

Write to Joe Wallace at Joe.Wallace@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 15, 2020 04:59 ET (08:59 GMT)

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