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Dow futures fall more than 120 points after FDA recommends pausing J&J vaccine

Around 7 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S.
Image: People are seen outside the NYSE in New York
People are seen outside the New York Stock Exchange, March 19, 2021.Brendan McDermid / Reuters
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U.S. stock futures dropped in a sudden move after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it is recommending a pause in the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine after reported cases of blood clotting.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 120 points. Meanwhile, those for the S&P 500 were off by 0.3 percent, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 0.3 percent. J&J shares fell by 3 percent in premarket trading.

“We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” the FDA said in a statement on Twitter.

There have been six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot after receiving the J&J vaccine, the FDA said. More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S. The agency is calling for a pause in the vaccine until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes its investigation into these cases.

“Until that process is complete, we are recommending this pause,” the FDA said. “This is important to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.”

Stock futures had been mostly flat early Tuesday morning before the report, as investors wait for a highly anticipated inflation report, set for release before the opening bell.

Markets were quiet on Monday, with the three major indexes pulling back slightly. The S&P 500 finished just a hair under its previous record close, while the Dow slipped 55 points. The Nasdaq Composite was the laggard, shedding 0.4 percent.

The market has been calm over the past week as Wall Street settled into a lull ahead of the first-quarter earnings season. Corporate news is set to pick up later in the week, with JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Delta Air Lines among the companies set to report quarterly results.