Wall Street set for higher open on M&A activity, vaccine hopes

Futures pointed to a higher open for Wall Street on Monday on signs of progress in developing a COVID-19 vaccine and a flurry of multi-billion dollar deals, including reports of Oracle winning the battle for the U.S. arm of TikTok.

Shares of Oracle surged 6% to near record highs in premarket trading, leading gains among the S&P 500 constituents after sources said the cloud services firm was entering a deal with TikTok-owner ByteDance structured as a partnership to navigate geopolitical tensions.

A Microsoft Corp-led consortium that included Walmart Inc was also in talks for TikTok’s U.S. business. Their shares fell marginally.

Nvidia Corp jumped 5.8% on plans to buy UK-based chip designer Arm from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp for as much as $40 billion, in a deal set to reshape the global semiconductor landscape.

“Wall Street always rewards growth,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners in Pittsburgh.

“That’s why these deals are exciting, because if you put two companies together, by definition, you’re going to have inorganic growth, but you’re going to see growth.”

The S&P 500 is coming off of two straight weeks of losses, its first such pace of declines since the coronavirus-led crash in March, as investors sold heavyweight technology shares that had powered the benchmark index to record highs in five-months.

On Monday, Amazon.com rose about 2% after the online shopping giant said it is hiring 100,000 more workers in its latest job spree for the United States this year – to keep pace with e-commerce demand that jumped during the pandemic.

Apple Inc, Facebook.com and Google-parent Alphabet Inc rose between 1% and 1.4%.

At 8:18 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 238 points, or 0.86%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 38 points, or 1.14% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 143 points, or 1.29%.

Global equities also got a lift on Monday after drugmaker AstraZeneca resumed its British clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine, one of the most advanced in development.

Pfizer Inc gained 2.1% after the drugmaker and German biotech firm BioNTech SE proposed expansion of their Phase 3 pivotal COVID-19 vaccine trial to about 44,000 participants.

Later this week investors will focus on the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting before the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential elections.

Gilead Sciences Inc slipped 1.4% as it said will acquire biotech company Immunomedics Inc for $21 billion, a move that will strengthen its cancer portfolio by gaining access to a promising drug.

Shares of Immunomedics more than doubled in value.

Was it worth reading? Let us know.