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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 17, 2021

Coronavirus tally: Global death toll tops 3 million as case tally climbs above 140 million
The global death toll from the coronavirus-borne illness COVID-19 rose above 3 million on Saturday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, as the case tally climbed above 140 million. The U.S. leads the world in cases and deaths by wide margins, with 31.6 million cases and 566,238 deaths. The U.S. added at least 78,932 new cases and 940 new deaths on Friday, according to a New York Times tracker. The U.S. has averaged 70,117 cases a day in the past week, up 8% from the average two weeks ago. Outside of the U.S., India has replaced Brazil as the country with the second highest number of cases at 14.5 million, and is fourth globally by deaths at 175,649. Brazil is third by cases at 13.8 million and second with a death toll of 368,749. Mexico is third by deaths at 211,693 and 14th highest by cases at 2.3 million. The U.K. has 4.4 million cases and 127,472 deaths, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Elon Musk's SpaceX wins $2.9 billion NASA moon landing contract
Privately held Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, was selected by NASA on Friday to move forward in developing a human landing system to carry the next two U.S. astronauts to the moon "and pave the way for sustainable lunar exploration." That's under NASA's Artemis program, which aims to return humans on the moon, collaborating with commercial and international partners, and eventually send astronauts to Mars. Elon Musk is chief executive on SpaceX as well as Silicon Valley electric-car maker Tesla Inc. SpaceX in February announced plans to send four space tourists to orbit later this year on a mission to raise awareness for a children's hospital. Last month, the company's prototype Mars rocket Starship broke apart while attempting to land.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Dow, S&P 500 log back-to-back record closes to end strong week for stocks, buoyed by strong economic data, earnings
U.S. stocks on Friday finished the week on a strong note, with the Dow and S&P 500 posting their second consecutive closing records and the Nasdaq Composite ending within a stone's throw of its record. Bullish investors point to a strong start to earnings season from the likes of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group coupled with blowout economic reports, notably a 10% rise in retail sales in March and weekly jobless claims figures falling to a pandemic low. Further helping lift buying momentum was a momentary pause in a climb for bond yields, which had previously been a sign of rising borrowing costs for investors and companies. The 10-year Treasury note yield finished at 1.571% on Friday, up on the day but down nearly 10 basis points on the week, marking its sharpest weekly drop in about 10 months. Against that backdrop, the Dow Jones Indusrtrial Average closed up by about 165 points, or 0.5%, to reach around 34,200, extending its climb beyond the 34,000 milestone achieved on Thursday. The S&P 500 index closed at a record high, up 0.4% to 4,185, while the Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 0.1% at 14,052, about 0.3% from its closing high or a little over 40 points. For the week, the Dow booked a 1.2% gain and the S&P 500 ended 1.4% higher, marking their fourth consecutive weekly climbs. The Nasdaq Composite closed up 1.1% for the week to mark its third straight weekly advance.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Dow transports set to eke out the longest weekly win streak in 32 years
The Dow Jones Transportation Average was rising 0.1% in afternoon trading Friday, and looks set to eke out the longest weekly gain since the late-1980s. The Dow transports has edged up 0.2% this week, which would mark the 11th-straight weekly gain. That would be the longest such streak since the 11-week stretch that ended Feb. 3, 1989. The index has run up 23.6% during its weekly win streak. In comparison, its sister index the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.2% this week and was headed toward a fourth-straight weekly gain, and ninth gain in the past 11 weeks, and has advanced 14.1% over the past 11 weeks. Both Dow sister indexes are set to close at weekly records, which is a bullish sign for the broader stock market. One of the six basic tenets of the century-old Dow Theory of market analysis, according to the CMT Association, is that no important bull or bear market signal could take place unless both averages gave the same signal. The idea is, the indexes have a symbiotic relationship, since transports take what the industrials make; if the companies in one of the indexes isn't performing, there's a good chance companies in the other won't either.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Oil futures end lower for the session, up over 6% for the week
Oil futures fell on Friday, pulling back on the heels of four consecutive session gains, but finished the week up by more than 6%. Forecasts for higher oil demand and declines in U.S. crude inventories contributed to the weekly price climb. May West Texas Intermediate crude fell 33 cents, or 0.5%, to settle at $63.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices for the front-month contract logged a weekly rise of 6.4%, according to FactSet data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Squarespace files for direct listing
Squarespace Inc. filed paperwork Friday for a direct-listing that would enable shares of the website-design company to trade on the New York Stock Exchange without the company raising money through a traditional initial public offering. Squarespace, which makes tools for building and hosting websites, generated revenue of $621.1 million in 2020, up from $484.8 million in 2019. The company is profitable but saw its net income decline to $30.6 million in 2020 from $58.2 million a year earlier. Squarespace had 3.66 million unique subscriptions to its platform as of the end of December. The company said in a filing that it's benefitting from a rise in online commerce and a growing interest from brands to develop better direct relationships with consumers. The company intends to list on the NYSE using the ticker SQSP. The company has yet to disclose when it plans to conduct the direct listing or how many shares will be made available in the process. Squarespace's filing comes after Coinbase Global Inc. held its own direct listing earlier this week.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Gold futures climb 2% for the week
Gold futures settled higher on Friday, with prices getting a boost from a weekly decline in U.S. Treasury note yields, which helped prices for the precious metal post a gain of about 2% from a week ago. June gold rose $13.40, or 0.8%, to settle at $1,780.20 an ounce. That was the highest finish for a most-active contract since Feb. 24, according to FactSet data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Baker Hughes data show U.S. oil-drilling rigs up by 7 for the week
Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil was up by 7 at 344 this week. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes those drilling for natural gas, was also up by 7 at 439, according to Baker Hughes. May West Texas Intermediate crude continued to pull back after four consecutive session gains. The contract was down 18 cents, or 0.3%, to $63.28 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Biomea Fusion stock opens 18% above IPO price
Biomea Fusion Inc. rallied out of the gate Friday, as shares of the California-based biopharmaceutical company focused on treatment of genetically defined cancers opened 17.6% above the initial public offering price. The company said late Thursday its IPO, which was upsized to 9.0 million shares from 7.5 million shares, priced at $17 a share, at the top of the expected range, as it raised $153 million and was valued at $463.6 million. The stock's first trade was at $20.00 at 11:51 a.m. Eastern for 341,119 shares. The stock has pared some gains since then to trade up 16.2% at $19.75. The company went public on a day that the Renaissance IPO ETF fell 1.4% while the S&P 500 gained 0.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Homebuilder stocks in broad rally to records after big jump in housing starts data
The homebuilder sector enjoyed a unanimous rally toward a record Friday, after data showing that new-home construction in March surged more than expected. the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF rallied 1.6% toward a record close, with all 35 equity components gaining ground. Among the more active homebuilders, shares of Toll Brothers Inc. climbed 1.9% and D.R. Horton Inc. hiked up 2.3%, both into record territory, while Lennar Corp. advanced 1.0%, in range of its April 9 record close of $105.52. Also in the homebuilders ETF, shares of Home Depot Inc. rallied 1.3% and Lowe's Companies jumped 1.5%, both toward record closes. The homebuilders ETF has run up 29.6% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 11.2%. Housing starts in March rose 19% from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.74 million, topping expectations of 1.62 million.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

White House announces $1.7 billion in funding to track, fight COVID variants
The Biden administration will invest $1.7 billion to help states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention track and fight COVID-19 variants, the White House announced Friday. The money is from the COVID-relief law enacted last month, and includes $1 billion for expanding genomic sequencing; $400 million for studying genomic epidemiology; and $300 million for a system for sharing and analyzing sequencing data. The administration says "new and potentially dangerous strains" of the virus make up about half of COVID cases in the U.S. today.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

CDC committee to meet again on April 23 to discuss J&J's COVID-19 shot
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advisory committee is scheduled to meet for a second time on Friday, April 23, to discuss rare safety concerns about Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine. Of the 6.8 million people in the U.S. who have received the J&J's shot, six women have been hospitalized with severe blood clots after receiving the vaccine. As a result, federal health officials recommended a "pause" in using the vaccine, a decision that was extended when the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met earlier this week. The emergency meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time on April 23. It will be webcast to the public.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Mer Telemanagement stock rockets on heavy volume after merger with sports betting company
Shares of Mer Telemanagement Solutions Ltd. shot up 62.4% on very heavy volume in morning trading Friday, to pace all gainers on major U.S. exchanges, after the Israel-based telecom expense management company agreed to be acquired by sports betting company SharpLink Inc. Trading volume spiked to 46.2 million shares, compared with the full-day average over the past 30 days of about 343,900 shares, to make the stock the second-most active on major U.S. exchanges. The stock's rally, which puts it on track for the highest close since August 2015, has pushed Mer's market valuation up to $24.1 million. Following the closing of the merger, SharpLink shareholders will own 86% of the combined company. "Following the merger, our company will be on the leading edge of a potentially massive sports betting market in the U.S. and globally," said Mer Chief Executive Roy Hess. "By providing proprietary advanced conversion and engagement solutions for the sports betting industry, we expect SharpLink's services will be needed by many companies looking to capitalize on this opportunity." Mer's stock has tripled (up 200.7%) year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 11.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Stocks open at fresh highs, buoyed by economic data and earnings
U.S. stocks shot higher at the open Friday, aiming for fresh records, as economic reports and corporate results remained strong. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 157 points, 0.5%, to open near 34,193, while the S&P 500 added 15 points, 0.4%, starting trading near 4,185. Both indexes clinched record closes Thursday. The Nasdaq Composite index, meanwhile, ticked up 0.1%, about 15 points, to trade near 14,053. The pace of residential construction quickened in March, according to the most recent housing starts report and Morgan Stanley said profit doubled in the first quarter, topping analyst expectations.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Comcast could be a COVID recovery story even as cable stocks have lagged, analyst says in upgrade
Comcast Corp. "possesses a notable COVID-recovery component with its stores, parks, and theatrical business," which could help its stock even as defensive cable names have lagged recently, according to Raymond James analyst Frank Louthan IV. He upgraded shares of Comcast to outperform from market perform Friday while setting a $61 price target. Louthan sees room for upside from the NBCUniversal business, noting that Universal Studios Hollywood is reopening this week at limited capacity and with some restrictions. NBC has other open theme parks that were running at about 35% capacity late last year, with room to head higher. "We believe the uncertain timing of Universal Studios Hollywood reopening had been an overhang on the business," Louthan wrote in a note to clients. Louthan also sees potential in the company's Peacock streaming business and its mobility business. Peacock could start showing benefits from its exclusive streaming deal for "The Office" and could eventually come to reap rewards from the postponed Olympics, due to take place this summer, he argued. The mobility side of the business could show some improvements from the reopening of Xfinity stores, he continued. "Comcast appears to be giving up some gains from the renegotiation with Verizon this week, cutting prices by up to $15/month per line, implying aggressive promotions," Louthan wrote. "That said, we believe subscriber gains drive investor interest and significantly reduce churn." Shares of Comcast are up 1.3% in premarket trading Friday. They've gained 9.2% over the past three months as the S&P 500 has risen 10.7%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Affirm stock could head higher amid 'hypergrowth' of buy-now-pay-later offerings, analyst says in upgrade
Shares of Affirm Holdings Inc. are up 2% in premarket trading Friday after Seaport Global analyst Chris Brendler upgraded the stock to buy from neutral and set an $80 price target. He sees the stock as more attractive following a 34% selloff since he initiated coverage of the company 10 weeks back, whereas the S&P 500 has gained 7% in that time. "In our view, this underperformance comes despite increasing evidence that BNPL [buy-now-pay-later] is going to be huge in the US and based on a string of encouraging data points, we expect Affirm to materially exceed near-term expectations," Brendler wrote in a note to clients. The company offers financial options that let consumers pay in installments, and this trend seems to be reaching a "hyper growth adoption phase in the U.S.," Brendler continued, which could set Affirm up for success. "We also want to be in front of Affirm's Shopify partnership which has the potential to significantly accelerate Affirm's growth," he wrote. "Recent data suggests the wait is nearly over, and we expect management to provide an update on the upcoming earnings call."

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Kansas City Southern profit, revenue miss expectations amid 'unique and challenging events'
Shares of Kansas City Southern tacked on 0.1% in premarket trading, after the rail road operator reported a first-quarter profit and revenue miss, with Chief Executive Patrick Ottensmeyer citing "several unique and challenging events," but he said he can "confidently confirm" the full-year outlook. Net income rose to $153.0 million, or $1.68 a share, from $151.7 million, or $1.58 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, such as merger costs and foreign exchange losses, adjusted earnings per share came to $1.91, below the FactSet consensus of $1.95. Revenue fell 3.5% to $706.0 million, missing the FactSet consensus of $714.0 million. Among the "challenging" events mentioned by CEO Ottensmeyer were adverse weather resulting from the Polar Vortex and lingering network congestion. The company said in January that it expects 2021 revenue growth in the double-digit percentage range and EPS of $9.00 or better. The stock has rallied 26.7% year to date through Thursday, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average has advanced 19.4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 11.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Esports stock soars again, after a 6-fold jump on its public debut
Shares of Esports Technologies Inc. soared 36.5% in premarket trading Friday, adding to the 6-fold gain in the previous session, as investors continued to cheer the public debut of the Las Vegas-based online gambling company. The stock's first trade Thursday morning was at $21.00, or 250% above the $6.00 a share initial public offering price, and it continued to climb in volatile trading to close at $36.42. At that closing price, the Esports' market capitalization was about $460.7 million, compared with the market cap of $75.9 million at the IPO pricing. Based on premarket trading Friday, the company is on track to open with a market cap above $600 million. The frenzy for Esports shares occurred on a day that shares of Applovin Corp. , with a valuation of $28.6 billion at the IPO price, closed 18.5% below its IPO price, and TuSimple Holdings Inc. , valued at $8.5 billion at its IPO price, closed right at its IPO price. The Renaissance IPO ETF rose 1.3% on Thursday while the S&P 500 gained 1.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Hertz gets sweetened bid from investors to help it exit bankruptcy: WSJ
Investment companies Knighthead Capital Management LLC and Certares Management LLC have sweetened their bid for bankrupt rental-car company Hertz Global Holdings Inc. and are now offering a deal that values the company at $6.2 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The investors said their new offer fully covers Hertz's funded debt and has the backing of Apollo Global Management Inc. and existing shareholders. Hertz endorsed a restructuring offer backed by Centerbridge Partners LP, Warburg Pincus LLC and Dundon Capital Partners LLC earlier in April to sponsor its exit from chapter 11. With their new proposal, Knighthead, Certares and their co-investors proposed taking control of Hertz with backing from Apollo, which has agreed to supply up to $2.5 billion in preferred equity financing, people familiar with the matter said. Hertz, which is aiming to exit bankruptcy by end-Juen, did not response to a request for comment.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Morgan Stanley's profit more than doubles to a record and beats expectations, but stock falls
Shares of Morgan Stanley fell 1.3% in premarket trading Friday, even after the financial services company reported first-quarter profit that more than doubled and revenue that jumped 60% to record levels, boosted by strength in the institutional securities business. Net income rose to $3.98 billion, or $2.19 a share, from $1.59 billion, or $1.01 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share came in at $2.22, above the FactSet consensus of $1.72. Revenue rose 60.7% to $15.72 billion, beating the FactSet consensus of $14.10 billion, as institutional securities (IS) revenue grew 65.6% to $8.58 billion to top expectations of $7.25 billion. Within IS, equity revenue increased 17.4% to $2.88 billion and fixed income revenue increased 43.8% to $2.97 billion. Net interest income rose 49.6% to $2.03 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $1.60 billion. The company said it repurchased $2.1 billion worth of its stock during the quarter. The stock has rallied 17.9% year to date through Thursday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF climbed 19.2% and the S&P 500 gained 11.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Eli Lilly asks FDA to revoke EUA for COVID antibody treatment alone to speed transition to combination therapy
Eli Lilly and Co. said Friday it is seeking a revocation of the emergency use authorization granted by U.S. regulators for its bamlanivimab antibody treatment for COVID-19 alone in order to complete the transition to bamlanivimab and etesevimab together. "Lilly made this request due to the evolving variant landscape in the U.S. and the full availability of bamlanivimab and etesevimab together," the company said in a statement. The combination has proved to be more effective in neutralizing the COVID-19 variants that have been detected in the U.S. after first emerging in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil, and that are more infectious than the original virus. The combination is also better at treating the rapidly growing B.1.427/B.1.429 California strain that currently accounts for 50% of virus cases in California and over 10% of cases in other states. "In the U.S., bamlanivimab alone should no longer be administered. However, sites of care should not dispose of bamlanivimab supply; instead, they should order etesevimab to pair with it," said Lilly. Bamlanivimab was the first neutralizing monoclonal antibody to receive an EUA from the FDA as a treatment for mild to moderate COVID-19 and more than 400,000 patients have been given it. Lilly estimates that has prevented more than 20,000 hospitalizations and at least 10,000 deaths during the peak of pandemic cases. Lily expects that in collaboration with Amgen Inc. , it can manufacture sufficient supply of the two antibodies to meet global supply needs. Lilly shares were up 0.6% premarket, and have gained 10% in the year-to-date, matching the S&P 500's gains.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Bank of New York Mellon profit and revenue fall, but beat expectations
Shares of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. were indicated up fractionally in premarket trading Friday, after the bank reported first-quarter profit and revenue that fell from a year ago, given the impact of low interest rates, but topped expectations. Net income declined to $858 million, or 97 cents a share, from $944 million, or $1.05 a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was 87 cents. Total revenue fell 5% to $3.92 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $3.84 billion, as total fee revenue fell 1% to $3.27 billion and net interest revenue dropped 20% to $655 million. Total revenue for the bank's largest, investment services business fell 8% to $2.99 billion, while investment and wealth management revenue rose 10% to $991 million. The bank resumed share repurchases during the quarter, and spent $699 million to buy back 16.8 million shares. The stock has advanced 13.1% year to date through Thursday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has rallied 19.2% and the S&P 500 has gained 11.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 top 139 million and U.S. death toll is above 565,000
The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness rose above 139 million on Friday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, as the death toll climbed above 2.98 million. The U.S. leads the world in cases and deaths by wide margins, with 31.5 million cases, or about 23% of the global total, while the 565,289 death toll makes up about 19% of the global toll. The U.S. added at least 74,312 new cases and 909 new deaths on Thursday, according to a New York Times tracker. The U.S. has averaged 70,514 cases a day in the past week, up 8% from the average two weeks ago. Pfizer Inc. Chief Executive Albert Bourla said it is likely that people who receive Covid-19 vaccines will need booster shots within a year afterward, and then annual vaccinations, to maintain protection against the virus as it evolves, the Wall Street Journal reported. "The variants will play a key role. It is extremely important to suppress the pool of people that can be susceptible to the virus," Bourla said during a virtual event hosted by CVS Health Corp. that aired Thursday but was recorded April 1. Outside of the U.S., India has replaced Brazil as the country with the second highest number of cases at 14.3 million, and is fourth globally by deaths at 174,308. Brazil is third by cases at 13.7 million and second with a death toll of 365,444. Mexico is third by deaths at 211,213 and 14th highest by cases at 2.3 million. The U.K. has 4.4 million cases and 127,438 deaths, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 16, 2021

Biomea Fusion's upsized IPO prices at top of expected range, to value the biotech at $464 million
Biomea Fusion Inc. was set to go public Friday, as the California-based biopharmaceutical company focused on treatment of genetically defined cancers said its upsized initial public offering priced at $17 a share, at the high end of the expected range of between $15 and $17 a share. The company said late Thursday that it offered 9.0 million shares in the IPO, up from previous expectations of 7.5 million shares, to raise $153 million. At the IPO pricing, Biomea was valued at $463.6 million. The stock is expected to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "BMEA." J.P. Morgan, Jefferies and Piper Sandler are book-running managers. The company recorded a net loss of $5.3 million on no revenue in 2020 after a loss of $1.2 million on no revenue in 2019. The company is going public at a time of tempered investor demand for IPOs, as the Renaissance IPO ETF has lost 3.6% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has gained 10.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

: PTC stock ticks higher following inclusion on S&P 500
PTC Inc. PTC shares ticked higher in the extended session Thursday after S&P Dow Jones Indices announced that the product-management software company would be joining the S&P 500 index SPX. PTC shares rose 1.3% after hours, following a 0.7% rise to close the regular session at $147.55. By April 20, PTC is set to replace Varian Medical Systems Inc. on the index following Varian's acquisition by Siemens Healthineers AG SMMNY.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Dow ends at 34,000 for first time; S&P 500 notches record as jobless claims hit pandemic low, retail sales surge
The S&P 500 and Dow clinched fresh records Thursday, after economic reports continued to affirm a healthy recovery from the pandemic, highlighted by retail sales surging in March on the back of fiscal stimulus checks to consumers and jobless benefit claims falling to a fresh low for the COVID period. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up more than 300 points at a fresh milestone at 34,000, on a preliminary basis, the S&P 500 index notched a 1.1% advance to log its all-time closing high at around 4,170 and the Nasdaq Composite Index finished 1.3% higher at about 14,039, marking its first finish above 14,000 since February and its third-highest close in its history. U.S. retail sales surged almost 10% in March thanks to $1,400 stimulus checks paid to consumers by the federal government. Sales climbed 9.8% last month, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 6.1% increase.Adding to the market's optimism, weekly jobless benefit claims fell to a pandemic-era low. U.S. unemployment claims sank by 193,000 in the week of April 10, an unusually large decline that likely reflects both an improving economy but also continuing problems in processing applications for jobless benefits.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Oil futures up 4 sessions in a row
Oil futures climbed Thursday to tally a fourth session gain in a row. A higher forecast for global oil demand from the International Energy Agency and recent data from the Energy Information Administration showing a third straight weekly decline in U.S. crude inventories continued to provide support for prices. Traders also eyed the latest talks on the Iran nuclear deal. May West Texas Intermediate crude rose 31 cents, or 0.5%, to settle at $63.46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after climbing 4.9% on Wednesday. Prices for the front-month contract logged another finish at their highest since March 17, FactSet data show.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Agilon Health stock soars in its debut to lift the company's valuation above $11 billion
Investors cheered the public debut of Agilon Health Inc. , as shares of the California-based provider of support services for primary care physicians opened 23% above its initial public offering price, then extended gains. Agilon's IPO priced late Wednesday at $23.00 a share, at the top of the expected range of between $20 and $23 a share, to value the company at $8.85 billion. The company offered 46.6 million shares in the IPO to raise $1.07 billion. J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and BofA Securities were the lead underwriters. The stock opened at $28.25 at 12:13 p.m. Eastern, and was recently trading 28.2% above the IPO price at $29.48, to push the valuation up to $11.34 billion. Agilon recorded a net loss of $60.1 million on revenue of $1.22 billion in 2020, after a loss of $282.6 million on revenue of $794.4 million in 2019. The company went public at a time that the Renaissance IPO ETF has slipped 3.4% over the past three months, while the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF has gained 3.2% and the S&P 500 has rallied 10.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Bank ETFs tumble even as earnings come in strong
Exchange-traded funds tracking the banking sector fell Thursday even as big banks reported quarterly results that blew away analyst expectations. The broad Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund lost 0.5% midday Thursday, while funds more focused on banks were down more sharply: the Invesco KBW Bank ETF slid 1.7% and the First Trust Nasdaq Bank ETF was off 1.2%. Shares of JPMorgan Chase , which reported on Wednesday, were flat, but Citigroup Inc. and Well Fargo & Company both lost 0.7%.

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Apr 15, 2021

Gold futures settle at a 7-week high
Gold futures climbed Thursday, with a steep decline in U.S. Treasury bond yields prompting prices to settle at their highest since late February. Gold also garnered some support as upbeat U.S. economic data lifted inflation prospects. Rising U.S. tensions with China and Russia helped to boost gold's haven appeal, as well, according to one analyst. June gold rose $30.50, or 1.8%, to settle at $1,766.80 an ounce. That was the highest finish for a most-active contract since Feb. 25 and largest one-day dollar and percentage gain since March 9, according to FactSet data.

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Apr 15, 2021

Senate, House to hold hearings with major bank CEOs in late May
Rep. Maxine Waters of California and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio announced Thursday that the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee will hold hearings featuring the CEOs of the nation's largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co , Bank of America Crop. , Citigroup Inc. , Wells Fargo & Co. , Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley during the final week in May. Brown, an Ohio Democrat, will be holding the Senate hearing on Wednesday, May 26 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, while Waters, a California Democrat, will convene the House hearing on Thursday, May 27, also at 10 a.m.

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Apr 15, 2021

House approves legislative blueprint to rein in Big Tech
The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a scathing 450-page report advocating legislation to rein in Big Tech's expansive powers. The report, released in October, recommends an overhaul of antitrust law to counter the growing influence of tech behemoths such as Google parent Alphabet Inc. , Facebook Inc. , Apple Inc. , and Amazon.com Inc. . "Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook each hold monopoly power over significant sectors of our economy. This monopoly moment must end," Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., chairman of the Judiciary Committee's Antitrust Subcommittee, said in a statement. "Now that the Judiciary Committee has formally adopted our findings, I look forward to crafting legislation that addresses the significant concerns we have raised."

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Apr 15, 2021

Biden to give speech on Russia Thursday after new sanctions
President Joe Biden will deliver remarks on Russia around 4:30 p.m. Eastern Thursday, the White House said in a statement. The speech comes after the Biden administration announced new sanctions on Russia for "malign activities," including the current military buildup in Ukraine and the persecution of dissidents such as Alexei Navalny.

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Apr 15, 2021

TuSimple stock opens just slightly above IPO prices, then sinks below it
TuSimple Holdings Inc. received a relatively cold reception on Wall Street Thursday, as the San Diego-based self-driving truck maker's stock opened just 0.6% above the initial public offering price of $40 a share then fell below it. Investors were likely expecting a better reception, as the IPO had priced above the expected range of between $35 and $39 a share. The stock's first trade was at $40.25 at 11:52 a.m. Eastern for 2.7 million shares. At the opening price, the company was valued at $8.54 billion. The stock slipped below the IPO since the open, and was recently trading at $38.33. The stock went public on a day that the Renaissance IPO ETF rose 1.1%, to outperform the S&P 500's 0.9% gain.

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Apr 15, 2021

UPDATE: CDC says just 5,800 people who were fully vaccinated against COVID got infected: CNN
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified about 5,800 cases of people who were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus-borne illness COVID-19 but got infected anyway, CNN reported. That's just a tiny sliver of the roughly 124 million people who have received a first dose. Some became seriously ill and 74 people died, the CDC told CNN by email. "To date, no unexpected patterns have been identified in case demographics or vaccine characteristics," the CDC said. It is not unexpected to have these "breakthrough" cases, as the vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing infections, making it important that people continue to wear face masks and socially distance, even after being vaccinated. The agency said it will be looking for clues about who is most prone to become infected despite having been vaccinated. "Vaccine breakthrough infections were reported among all people of all ages eligible for vaccination. However, a little over 40% of the infections were in people 60 or more years of age," the CDC said.

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Apr 15, 2021

Esports rockets more than 4-fold in volatile, public debut
Shares of Esports Technologies Inc. blasted out of the gate Thursday, and kept rising in volatile trading, as the Las Vegas-based online gambling company's stock opened at more than triple the initial public offering price. The stock's first trade was $21.00 at 10:09 a.m. Eastern for 126,245 shares, while the upsized IPO priced overnight at $6.00 a share. The stock has extended gains since its opening, to trade 328.2% above its IPO price at $25.69, enough to pace all Nasdaq gainers. The stock has already been halted for volatility seven times since it opened. The pricing was at the top of the expected range of between $5.00 and $6.00 a share, which was recently raised from between $4.50 and $5.00 a share, and valued the company at $79.9 million. The company sold 2.4 million shares in the IPO, up from previous expectations of 2.0 million shares, to raise $14.4 million. Boustead Securities was the sole underwriter of the IPO. The company had recorded a net loss of $573,225 on revenue of $195,778 the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2020, after net income of $24,103 on revenue of $140,982 in the year-ago period. The company went public at a time that the Renaissance IPO ETF has slipped 4.0% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has gained 10.7%.

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Apr 15, 2021

Natural-gas prices edge up as EIA reports a 61 billion cubic foot rise in U.S. natural-gas supplies
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday that domestic supplies of natural gas rose by 61 billion cubic feet for the week ended April 9. That compares with an average increase of 65 billion cubic feet forecast by analysts polled by S&P Global Platts. Total stocks now stand at 1.845 trillion cubic feet, down 242 billion cubic feet from a year ago but 11 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, the government said. Following the data, May natural gas was up 2.3 cents, or 0.9%, to $2.64 per million British thermal units. It traded at $2.62 shortly before the data.

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Apr 15, 2021

CDC says just 5,800 people who were fully vaccinated against COVID got infected: CNN
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified about 5,800 cases of people who were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus-borne illness COVID-19 but got infected anyway, CNN reported. Some became seriously ill and 74 people died, the CDC told CNN by email. "To date, no unexpected patterns have been identified in case demographics or vaccine characteristics," the CDC said. It is not unexpected to have these "breakthrough" cases, as the vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing infections, making it important that people continue to wear face masks and socially distance, even after being vaccinated. The agency said it will be looking for clues about who is most prone to become infected despite having been vaccinated. "Vaccine breakthrough infections were reported among all people of all ages eligible for vaccination. However, a little over 40% of the infections were in people 60 or more years of age," the CDC said.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Esports rockets nearly 5-fold in public debut
Shares of Esports Technologies Inc. blasted out of the gate in morning trading Thursday, and kept rising, as the Las Vegas-based online gambling company's stock opened at more than triple the initial public offering price. The stock's first trade was $21.00 at 10:09 a.m. Eastern for 126,245 shares, while the upsized IPO priced overnight at $6.00 a share. The stock has extended gains since its opening, to trade 373.0% above its IPO price at $28.38, to pace all Nasdaq gainers, prior to a trading halt for volatility. The pricing was at the top of the expected range of between $5.00 and $6.00 a share, which was recently raised from between $4.50 and $5.00 a share, and valued the company at $79.9 million. The company sold 2.4 million shares in the IPO, up from previous expectations of 2.0 million shares, to raise $14.4 million. Boustead Securities was the sole underwriter of the IPO. The company had recorded a net loss of $573,225 on revenue of $195,778 the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2020, after net income of $24,103 on revenue of $140,982 in the year-ago period. The company went public at a time that the Renaissance IPO ETF has slipped 3.9% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has gained 10.3%.

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Apr 15, 2021

CleanSpark stock surges after deal to buy nearly 23,000 more bitcoin miners
Shares of CleanSpark Inc. surged 5.6% in morning trading Thursday, after the energy software and bitcoin mining company said it has bought 22,680 additional bitcoin miners, which the company expects will provide it with a total of mining production capacity of over 3.2 EH/s. The stock's rally comes as bitcoin rose 0.4%, to trade just shy of Tuesday's record close of $63,434.45, according to FactSet data. CleanSpark said the additional orders included 15,480 S19j Pro and S19Pro Antminers contracted from "a premier cryptocurrency mining equipment dealer" and 7,200 Sj19 Pro Antimers contracted directly from Bitmain Technologies Ltd. The company added that it has secured contracts on all the equipment needed to reach its target of a total has rate capacity of more than 1.1 EH/s by the summer of 2021. "Time is money in this industry, and we wanted to ensure that we have both our immediate needs covered but we also wanted to look to the future to ensure we had a reliable baseline supply of future miner deliveries secured to support our long-term growth," said CleanSpark Chief Executive Zach Bradford. "In addition to these orders, we will continue to ource miners on a periodic basis to further increase or upgrade our total mining capacity." CleanSpark's stock has dropped 22.5% year to date, while bitcoin has soared 117.1% and the S&P 500 has gained 10.6%.

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Apr 15, 2021

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos total 2020 pay stays at $1.7 million, with most representing security costs
Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos base salary for 2020 remained at $81,840, the same as 2019 and just a little more than double the median total compensation U.S. full-time employees of $37,930. In the ecommerce and cloud giant's 2020 proxy statement filed late Wednesday, Amazon disclosed that Bezos total 2020 compensation was $1,681,840, also the same as the year before, as he again received no stock awards and "all other compensation" remained at $1.60 million. For Bezos, all other compensation represents costs to the company for security arrangements for Bezos, which the company said it believed was "reasonable" in light of Bezos' "low salary." But despite the low salary, Bezos acknowledged in a letter to shareholders that he was "wealthy," as recent filings show he owned 53.21 million Amazon shares, representing 10.57% of the shares outstanding, and valued at $180.1 billion at current prices. The stock, which rose 1.6% in morning trading, has rallied 46.7% over the past 12 months while the S&P 500 has advanced 49.2%.

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Apr 15, 2021

Stocks jump at the open as Coinbase rises, Americans go shopping
U.S. stocks opened higher Thursday amid a raft of strong economic reports and corporate results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 177 points, or 0.5%, according to preliminary estimates, to open near 33,908, while the S&P 500 gained 25 points or 0.6%, to start trading near 4,149. The Nasdaq Composite index was up 122 points or 0.9%, near 13,980. First-time filings for jobless benefits fell sharply in the most recent week, the Labor Department said Thursday morning, and retail sales rocketed nearly 10% in March as Americans spent their stimulus checks. Shares of Coinbase Global Inc. gained on the second day of trading for the cryptocurrency exchange, boosted by both retail and institutional investors alike, and earnings for companies like Citigroup Inc. beat analyst expectations.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Dow futures hold gains after industrial-production report
U.S. stocks were indicated higher Thursday morning after a report on industrial production. March industrial production rose 1.4% versus consensus estimates for a rise of around 3.0%. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average , up 0.5% at 33,781, those for the S&P 500 gained 0.6%, while those for the Nasdaq-100 futures were climbing 1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Home Depot aims to step up delivery speed in South Florida with three new facilities
Home Depot Inc. has opened three distribution centers "from West Palm Beach and Miami to Fort Myers" in an effort to speed delivery times across South Florida. Two more Miami distribution centers are coming in 2022. The five facilities will create 150 jobs in the region. "These investments are helping us deliver to our Pro and DIY customers across South Florida when, where and how they want," said Kyle Dennis, vice president of supply chain development, in a statement. Rival Lowe's Cos. Inc. announced this week that it is stepping up its customer service to professional clients. Home Depot stock is up 20.5% for the year to date while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 10.2% for the period.

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Apr 15, 2021

Delta reports wider-than-expected loss but revenue beats, sees positive cash flow in June quarter
Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc. rose 0.6% in premarket trading Thursday, after the air carrier reported a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss, but revenue that beat forecasts and said it expects to generate cash in the current quarter and return to profitability in the September quarter. The company swung to a net loss of $1.18 billion, or $1.85 a share, from net income of $730 million, or $1.09 a share, in the same period of 2019, pre-pandemic. Excluding nonrecurring items, such as a $1.2 billion benefit related to the payroll support program extension, the adjusted loss per share was $3.55, compared with the FactSet loss consensus of $3.13. Total revenue came to $4.15 billion, down 60% from the 2019 period, but beat the FactSet consensus of $3.94 billion, as load factor of 45% was in line with expectations. Daily cash burn averaged $11 million for the quarter, but in March the company generated an average of $4 million per day as consumers gained confidence to travel and began buying tickets further out. "A year after the onset of the pandemic, travelers are gaining confidence and beginning to reclaim their lives," said Chief Executive Ed Bastian. "If recovery trends hold, we expect positive cash generation for the June quarter and see a path to return to profitability in the September quarter as the demand recovery progresses." The stock has rallied 19.8% year to date through Wednesday, while the U.S. Global Jets ETF has advanced 19.9% and the S&P 500 has gained 9.8%.

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Apr 15, 2021

CDC identifies 5,800 people who were fully vaccinated against COVID but still got infected: CNN
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified about 5,800 cases of people who were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus-borne illness COVID-19 but got infected anyway, CNN reported. Some became seriously ill and 74 people died, the CDC told CNN by email. "To date, no unexpected patterns have been identified in case demographics or vaccine characteristics," the CDC said. It is not unexpected to have these "breakthrough" cases, as the vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing infections, making it important that people continue to wear face masks and socially distance, even after being vaccinated. The agency said it will be looking for clues about who is most prone to become infected despite having been vaccinated. "Vaccine breakthrough infections were reported among all people of all ages eligible for vaccination. However, a little over 40% of the infections were in people 60 or more years of age," the CDC said.

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Apr 15, 2021

Gold futures trade higher after jobless claims falls to pandemic low
Contracts for gold on Thursday were trading solidly higher after reports on the U.S.s economic recovery from the COVID pandemic. U.S. retail sales minus autos & gas rose 8.2% in March and U.S. initial jobless claims fell to 576,000 in the latest week. June gold traded 0.7% higher at $1,749.10 an ounce on Comex.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

U.S. stock-index futures hold higher after crush of economic reports including retail sales and jobless claims
U.S. stock-index futures maintained solid gains Thursday morning after a batch of economic reports provided further evidence of a steady recovery for the American economy from COVID unfolding.

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Apr 15, 2021

Brown-Forman names Leanne Cunningham CFO effective July 2
Jack Daniel's parent Brown-Forman Corp. said Thursday it has named Leanne Cunningham chief financial officer, replacing Jane Morreau, who is leaving after a nearly three-decade career at the booze company. Cunningham is currently senior vice president, shareholder relations officer, global commercial finance and financial planning and analysis and will take up the new role on July 2. Shares were not active premarket.

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Apr 15, 2021

American Eagle Outfitters shares jump as Q1 revenue approaches $1 billion
American Eagle Outfitters Inc. stock rose nearly 5% in Thursday premarket trading after the retailer's first-quarter business update showed revenue that is "on track" to exceed $1 billion. "Demand has accelerated across the American Eagle and Aerie brands, generating strong margins, higher full-priced selling and reduced promotions," the company said. The FactSet sales consensus is for $974 million. American Eagle is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings on May 1. BMO Capital Markets expects the momentum to continue into the second quarter. "[T]ighter industrywide inventory, coupled with stronger consumer demand, bolstered by stimulus is presenting a trifecta yielding a surge in spending power at a time when demand is already outstripping supply," analysts wrote in a note. BMO rates American Eagle market perform with a $36 price target, up from $26. American Eagle stock has rallied 64.3% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index has gained 9.8% for the period.

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Apr 15, 2021

Citigroup Q1 profit more than trebles as it announces shake-up of consumer business in Asia and EMEA
Citigroup Inc. shares jumped 3% in premarket trade Thursday, after the bank posted record profit for the first quarter as it released $1.8 billion from its loan loss reserves and announced a shake-up of its Asia and EMEA consumer banking business. The company posted net income of $7.9 billion, or $3.62 as share, for the quarter, more than triple the $2.5 billion, or $1.06 a share, posted in the year-earlier period. Revenue edged down to $19.3 billion from $20.7 billion. The FactSet consensus was for $2.60 in EPS and $18.8 billion of revenue. "It's been a better than expected start to the year, and we are optimistic about the macro environment," Chief Executive Jane Fraser said in a statement. The record net income was driven by a strong performance at the bank's institutional clients group and the big release from loan loss reserves/ And while global consumer banking revenue was down sequentially due to the pandemic, "this is the healthiest we have seen the consumer emerge from a crisis in recent history," she said. Citi is now planning to overhaul its global consumer banking business to focus in areas it has the greatest scale and growth potential. The bank will focus its presence in Asia and EMEA on four centers; Singapore, Hong Kong, the UAE and London. It will close its consumer franchises in 13 centers, namely Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Citi had $666 billion of loans at quarter-end, down 8% from a year ago. Deposits stood at $1.3 trillion, up 10%. Shares have gained 18% in the year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 have both gained about 10%.

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Apr 15, 2021

: U.S. to slap tough new sanctions on Russia over election meddling and hacking
Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Biden administration is due to announce on Thursday severe new sanctions on Russia for election interference and other malign activity, according to government officials quoted in several U.S. news media.The measures would include for the first time far-reaching financial sanctions, including tough restrictions on U.S. financial institutions' ability to trade Russian sovereign debt, according to the reports.The sanctions would be largely in response to the cyberattack on SolarWinds software, unveiled in December, which U.S. authorities say allowed Russian hackers to access thousands of companies and government offices.Ten diplomats from the Russian embassy in Washington will also be expelled, according to The Wall Street Journal. The sanctions will also designate Russian companies and individuals alleged to share responsibility for the hacking.The announcement would come two days after President Joe Biden called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to express his concerns about those issues, as well as over the Russian military buildup on Ukraine's borders, and suggest a bilateral meeting.The outlook: Putin always took care to appear relaxed after previous sanctions rounds from the U.S. and Europe, but this time it might be different: The Biden version will be much more costly for the Russian economy, if the U.S. takes radical steps to curb the trading of Russian debt on international markets.

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Apr 15, 2021

Coty to issue up to $750 million of high-yield bonds in private offering
Coty Inc. said Thursday it plans to offer up to $750 million of senior secured high-yield bonds in a private transaction, joining the many companies issuing debt during the pandemic. Proceeds of the deal will be used to repay part of the cosmetic company's term loans. Shares wee slightly higher premarket.

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Apr 15, 2021

Merck scraps two treatments for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, will focus on antiviral for non-hospitalized patients
Shares of Merck & Co. were up 0.1% in premarket trading on Thursday after the drug company said the oral antiviral COVID-19 treatment it is developing with Ridgeback Therapeutics did not help hospitalized patients in a mid-stage clinical trial. The companies now plan to test molnupiravir in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients in a Phase 3 trial, with plans to file for emergency authorization in the second half of the year. They are also planning to see if the experimental therapy works for post-exposure prophylaxis. In a separate news release, Merck said it is discontinuing MK-7110 as a treatment for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, saying that the Food and Drug Administration's request for additional clinical information would push the launch into 2022. "Merck is now focusing its efforts on advancing molnupiravir, which, as an oral medicine for outpatient use, represents a promising potential new approach, and on accelerating production of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine," Dr. Roy Baynes, chief medical officer for Merck Research Laboratories, said in the release. Merck's stock has gained 6.6% since the start of the year, while the broader S&P 500 is up 9.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Rite Aid reports narrower losses, sales beat
Rite Aid Corp. shares rose 1.3% in Thursday premarket trading after the pharmacy retailer reported a fourth-quarter sales beat. Net losses totaled $18.5 million, or 34 cents per share, after a loss of $324.7 million, or $6.08 per share, last year. Adjusted losses of 78 cents per share were ahead of the FactSet consensus for a loss of 90 cents per share. Revenue of $5.92 billion was up from $5.73 billion last year and also ahead of the FactSet consensus for $5.85 billion. The quarter was impacted by "a historically soft cough, cold and flu season, the deferral of elective procedures and related acute prescription volume and the impact of COVID-19 on selling, general and administrative expenses," Chief Executive Heyward Donigan said in a statement. For March and April to date, Rite Aid has administered two million COVID-19 vaccine shots, and Donigan said prescription trends heading back "to positive levels." For the first quarter, Rite Aid is guiding for net income between $10 million and a net loss of $10 million and retail pharmacy revenue between $6.1 billion and $6.3 billion. The company expects COVID-19 to continue to have an impact. The FactSet consensus is for pharmacy sales of $6.084 billion. Rite Aid stock is up 20.3% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index [s spx] has gained 9.8% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Karat Packaging IPO prices below range at $16 a share
Karat Packaging Inc. said Thursday it initial public offering priced at $16 a share, below its proposed price range of $18 to $20. The maker of environmentally friendly disposable food product packaging sold 3.95 million shares to raise $63.2 million. The stock will begin trading on Nasdaq later Thursday, under the ticker symbol 'KRT.' Underwriters led by Stifel, William Blair and Truist Securities have the option to purchase an additional 592,500 shares to cover over-allotments, if any. Proceeds will be used to repay about $30 million of debt and for general corporate purposes, including facility expansions and acquisitions.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Thermo Fisher to buy PPD, in a cash deal valued at $17.4 billion including debt
Shares of PPD Inc. rallied 7.3% in premarket trading Thursday, after Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. confirmed an agreement to buy the pharmaceutical-testing company in a cash deal valued at $17.4 billion, including $3.5 billion in debt. Thermo Fisher shares gained 3.1% ahead of the open. Under terms of the deal, Thermo Fisher will pay $47.50 for each PPD share outstanding, which is a 10.5% premium to Wednesday's closing price of $43.00, and implies a market capitalization for PPD of $16.64 billion. The deal was reported by The Wall Street Journal late Wednesday. Thermo Fisher said it expects cost synergies of about $75 million after the deal's closing, which is expected to occur by the end of 2021, and expects the deal to add $1.40 to adjusted earnings per share in the first 12 months after the close. PPD's stock has rallied 25.7% year to date through Wednesday and Thermo Fisher shares have edged up 2.6%, while the S&P 500 has gained 9.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Thermo Fisher to buy PPD, in a cash deal valued at $17.4 billion, plus debt
Shares of PPD Inc. rallied 7.3% in premarket trading Thursday, after Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. confirmed an agreement to buy the pharmaceutical-testing company in a cash deal valued at $17.4 billion, plus the assumption of $3.5 billion in debt. Thermo Fisher shares gained 3.1% ahead of the open. Under terms of the deal, Thermo Fisher will pay $47.50 for each PPD share outstanding, which is a 10.5% premium to Wednesday's closing price of $43.00, and implies a market capitalization for PPD of $16.64 billion. The deal was reported by The Wall Street Journal late Wednesday. Thermo Fisher said it expects cost synergies of about $75 million after the deal's closing, which is expected to occur by the end of 2021, and expects the deal to add $1.40 to adjusted earnings per share in the first 12 months after the close. PPD's stock has rallied 25.7% year to date through Wednesday and Thermo Fisher shares have edged up 2.6%, while the S&P 500 has gained 9.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

UPDATE: Aphria shareholders vote overwhelmingly in favor of proposed Tilray merger; Tilray vote moved to April 30
Aphria Inc. said Thursday its shareholders have voted overwhelmingly in favor of its proposed merger with rival Tilray Inc., with a total of 99.38% of shares voted approving the deal. The news comes after Tilray said its shareholder meeting on the deal has been adjourned to April 30 from April 16. The meeting will be held via live webcast starting at 11.00 a.m. Eastern time. Under the terms of the proposed deal, Aphria shareholders will receive 0.8381 of a Tilray share of class 2 common stock for each Aphria share owned. The deal is expected to create the world's biggest cannabis company, measured by revenue. Aphria shares were down 0.2% premarket, but are up 106% in the year to date. Tilray shares were up 1.1% premarket and have gained 111% in the year to date, while the Cannabis ETF has gained 44% and the S&P 500 has gained 10%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Tapestry elevates interim CEO Todd Kahn to permanent CEO and president of Coach brand
Tapestry Inc. said Thursday it has made Todd Kahn its permanent chief executive and brand president of Coach with immediate effect, elevating him into the role he has served on an interim basis since July 2020. Kahn joined the parent of Coach, Kate Space and Stuart Weitzman brands in Jan. 2008 and has held a number of leadership roles. He has also done stints at other public and private companies. Tapestry shares were slightly lower premarket, but have gained 46% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 10%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Kimco Realty, Weingarten Realty to merge in a deal valuing Weingarten at nearly $4 billion
Kimco Realty Corp. announced Thursday an agreement to buy Weingarten Realty Investors in a cash and stock deal that values the owner of grocery-anchored shopping centers at about $3.9 billion. Kimco's stock was up 0.2% in premarket trading and Weingarten shares are still inactive. Under terms of the deal, each Weingarten share will be exchanged for 1.408 new Kimco shares and $2.89 in cash. Based on Wednesday's closing prices, that values Weingarten's stock at $30.31 each, a 10.9% premium. After closing, which is expected to occur during the second half of 2021, Kimco shareholders are expected to own 71% of the combined company. "This combination reflects our conviction in the grocery-anchored shopping center category, which has performed well throughout the pandemic and provides last mile locations that are more valuable than ever due to their hybrid role as both shopping destinations and omnichannel fulfillment epicenters," said Kimco Chief Executive Conor Flynn. Year to date, Kimco's stock has run up 29.8% and Weingarten's stock has climbed 26.2%, while the SPDR Real Estate Select Sector ETF has advanced 11.0% and the S&P 500 has gained 9.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

TuSimple IPO prices above expected range, valuing self-driving truck maker at $8.5 billion
TuSimple Holdings Inc. is set to go public Thursday, after the self-driving trucks maker's initial public offering priced at $40 a share, above the expected range of between $35 and $39 a share. The company sold 27.03 million shares in the IPO to raise $1.08 billion while selling shareholders sold 6.76 million shares to raise $270.3 million. The IPO pricing values the company at about $8.5 billion. The stock is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "TSP." Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan were the lead book-running managers. The company is going public at a time that the Renaissance IPO ETF has lost 4.9% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has gained 9.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 top138 million and UI.S. death toll above 564,000
The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness rose above 138 million on Thursday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, as the death toll climbed above 2.97 million. The U.S. leads the world in cases and deaths by wide margins, with 31.4 million cases, or about 23% of the global total, while the 564,405 death toll make of about 19% of the global toll. The U.S. added at least 75,267 new cases and 932 new deaths on Wednesday, according to a New York Times tracker. The U.S. has averaged 71,511 cases a day in the past week, up 11% from the average two weeks ago. The CDC's advisory committee voted to extend the federal "pause" halting immunizations with Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine over concerns over severe cases of blood clots reported in six people who have received the J&J shot. Much of the discussion at the end of the meeting focused on whether committee members needed additional clinical information before making a formal recommendation or whether waiting to make a choice would further harm Americans at risk for contracting COVID-19. Outside of the U.S., India has replaced Brazil as the country with the second highest number of cases at 14 million, and is fourth globally by deaths at 173,123. Brazil is third by cases at 13.7 million and second with a death toll of 361,884. Mexico is third by deaths at 210,812 and 14th highest by cases at 2.3 million. The U.K. has 4.4 million cases and 127,407 deaths, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Bank of America stock jumps toward 13-year high after profit beat, new $25 billion buyback program
Shares of Bank of America Corp. rose 1.8% toward a 13-year high in premarket trading Thursday, after the bank reported profit that more than doubled and beat expectations, citing strong growth in capital markets and lower credit costs, and set a $25 billion stock repurchase program. Net income rose to $8.1 billion, or 86 cents a share, from $4.0 billion, or 40 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was 66 cents. Total revenue was unchanged at $22.8 billion, but topped the FactSet consensus of $21.90 billion, while net interest income (NII) dropped 15.9% to $10.20 billion to fall shy of expectations of $10.27 billion. Consumer banking revenue fell 12% to $8.1 billion, as lower rates led to lower NII, while global markets revenue climbed 19% to $6.2 billion. Provision for credit losses improved to a benefit of $1.9 billion from a cost of $4.8 billion. Separately, the bank said it has authorized the repurchase of up to $25 billion worth of common stock over time. That represents about 7.3% of Bank of America's market capitalization of $344.29 billion. The stock, which is on track to open at the highest price seen since May 2008, has rallied 20.8% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 9.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

UnitedHealth stock rises toward a record after profit and revenue beats, raised outlook
Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. jumped 1.7% into record territory in premarket trading Thursday, after the health care services company reported first-quarter profit and revenue that rose above expectations and raised its full-year outlook. "COVID-19 treatment and testing during the quarter was higher than expected, paired with higher elective care deferral patterns," the company said in a statement. Net income rose to $4.86 billion, or $5.08 a share, from $3.38 billion, or $3.52 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share grew to $5.31 from $3.72, beating the FactSet consensus of $4.39. Total revenue increased 9.0% to $70.20 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $69.02 billion, as premiums rose 9.6% to $55.49 billion to beat expectations of $54.57 billion. Revenue for the Optum business grew 10.8% to $36.4 billion. The company raised its 2021 adjusted EPS guidance range to $18.10 to $18.60 from $17.75 to $18.25. The stock, which is on track to open above the March 29 record close of $379.06, has advanced 7.1% year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 9.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Blood clots as prevalent with Pfizer and Moderna vaccine as with AstraZeneca's: study
A study by Oxford University found the number of people who receive blood clots after getting vaccinated with a coronavirus vaccine are about the same for those who get Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as they are for the AstraZeneca vaccine that was produced with the university's help. According to the study, 4 in 1 million people experience cerebral venous thrombosis after getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, versus 5 in 1 million people for the AstraZeneca vaccine. The risk of getting CVT is much higher for those who get COVID-19 -- 39 in a million patients -- than it is for those for get vaccinated. AstraZeneca's vaccine use has been halted or limited in many countries on blood clot concerns.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Coinbase shares climb 12% in premarket after Wall Street debut
Shares of Coinbase climbed 12% in premarket trading on Thursday, a day after the cryptocurrency platform became the most valuable U.S. exchange Wednesday amid strong demand for its newly listed stock. Shares of Coinbase made its debut at $381 a share on Wednesday, after a $250 reference price was established Tuesday afternoon. The stock pushed as high as $429.54 before ending at $328.28. At the closing price, Coinbase was valued at $85.8 billion.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

ARK snaps up $246 million worth of Coinbase in market debut
ARK Invest bought cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase , which went public on Wednesday, for three of the ARK exchange-traded funds, including the flagship ARK Innovation ETF . ARK Invest bought Coinbase stock valued at $246 million for the ARK Innovation ETF, ARK Next Generation Internet ETF and ARK Fintech Innovation ETF . ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood spoke of Coinbase's potential, as well as volatility, in an interview with Bloomberg BNN on Wednesday. To make room, ARK sold $178 million shares of Tesla on Wednesday, though the electric vehicle maker is still the top holding of the ARK Innovation ETF and the ARK Next Generation Internet ETF.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 15, 2021

Norway's DNB announces all-share offer for rival Sbanken worth $1.3 billion
Norway's biggest bank, DNB , on Thursday said it has reached an agreement with Sbanken to buy the smaller rival in deal valued at NOK11.1 billion ($1.3 billion). In a recommended voluntary offer, DNB will pay NOK103.85 for each share of Sbanken, which represents a 29.8% premium over Wednesday's closing price of NOK80. "DNB believes that Sbanken will further strengthen its position within retail banking in its home market," the company said in a statement.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

: Dell to finally spin off VMware stake
Dell Technologies Inc. DELL shares rallied in the extended session Wednesday after the computer maker said it was finally spinning off its majority stake of VMware Inc. VMW. Dell shares surged 9% after hours, following a 0.2% rise in the regular session to close at $92.70. VMware shares declined 0.3% after hours, following a 0.7% gain to close at $155.49. Dell said the spinoff will result in VMware distributing a special cash dividend of $11.5 billion to $12 billion to VMware shareholders, with Dell using $9.3 billion to $9.7 billion of that to pay down debt. Dell shareholders will also receive about 0.44 shares of VMware for each Dell share they own. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021. Dell Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Dell will remain the chair of VMware's board, and Zane Rowe will remain interim CEO of VMware, Dell said. Back in June, rumors concerning the years-long speculation of some sort of split grew louder. Dell owns a 81% stake in VMware, which it picked up in its 2016 acquisition of EMC Corp. for $67 billion.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Costco raises dividend by more than 12% to 79 cents
Costco Wholesale Corp. said late Wednesday its board of directors has declared a dividend to 79 cents, from 70 cents. The dividend is payable on May 14 to shareholders of record on April 30. Costco shares rose 0.3% in the extended session Wednesday after ending the regular trading day down 0.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Thermo Fisher seeks to buy pharma services company PPD for $15 billion: report
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is approaching a deal to buy pharmaceutical-testing company PPD Inc. for more than $15 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the deal, which could be formalized as soon as this week. Wilmington, N.C.-based PPD, with a market cap around $13.6 billion, is a contract-research company, running drug trials for pharma companies as well as provinding lab services. Thermo Fisher, based in Waltham, Mass., sells lab equipment, chemicals and tests, among other life-sciences services and products, the Journal said. Thermo Fisher has a market cap around $188 billion. PPD shares rose 2% in the extended session after ending the regular trading day up 12%; Thermo Fisher shares were up 0.1% after closing down 1.4%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

McDonald's to implement standards to prevent harassment and discrimination on the job
McDonald's Corp. said Wednesday that it will put a new set of Global Brand Standards in place that will aim to prevent harassment, violence and discrimination against workers and deal with incidents once they occur. Starting January 2022, all 39,000 McDonald's restaurants, both company-owned and franchised, across the globe will be held accountable for adhering to the standards, which will include policies, training and other tools. The announcement provided no specifics about what the standards program will entail or how it will be enforced, which is a problem for one worker group. "Most importantly, a truly effective anti-harassment program must include the voices of those directly affected by the problem," said Kimberly Lawson, a Kansas City, Mo. worker and leader in the Fight for $15 and a Union. According to a statement from the group, Lawson has also filed a complaint about sexual harassment experienced while on the job. "Listening to workers has been at the center of our demands for five years, but McDonald's has still not met with us. The changes announced today didn't come from us; they came from lawyers and executives." McDonald's stock is up 7.3% for the year to date while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 10.2% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Dow gains but misses out on record as Fed's Beige Book points to U.S. growth
U.S. stocks finished mostly lower on Thursday as the Federal Reserve's Beige Book showed growth and inflation was picking up in the U.S. economy. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% to 4,125. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 55 points, or 0.2%, to 33,732, based on preliminary numbers. The blue-chip benchmark hit an intraday record earlier in the session but ended below the record close of 33,800.60 set last Friday. The Nasdaq Composite slid 1% to 13,858. Investors parsed through better-than-expected earnings from banks including Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. The strong results showed the broadening benefits of the recovery, Shares of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global rose over 30%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Bank of America stock swings to a gain ahead of earnings
Shares of Bank of America Corp. has swung to a gain of 1.5% in afternoon trading, reversing an earlier intraday loss of as much as 1.0%, a day before the bank is slated to report first-quarter results. The stock is trading just shy of the 13-year closing high of $40.05 on April 7. The bank is expected to reveal results before Thursday's open, with the FactSet consensus for earnings per share of 66 cents, total revenue of $21.90 billion and net interest income of $10.27 billion. BofA has beat EPS expectations the past three quarters, and in 19 of the past 20 quarters, according to FactSet data, while revenue has missed the past two quarters but beat in 12 of the past 20 quarters. Meanwhile, the stock has dropped on the day the past five quarterly results were released, by an average of 3.4%. Of Wells Fargo's peers that reported Wednesday, shares of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. shed 1.7% while Goldman Sachs Group Inc. gained 2.9% and Wells Fargo & Co. advanced 5.3%. The stock has rallied 31.6% year to date, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has climbed 19.4% and the S&P 500 has gained 9.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Oil futures rally to finish at 4-week high
Oil futures rallied Wednesday to mark their highest finish in four weeks. The International Energy Agency raised its forecast for global oil demand this year and the Energy Information Administration reported a 5.9 million barrel fall in U.S. crude inventories for the week ended April 9. May West Texas Intermediate crude rose $2.97, or 4.9%, to settle at $63.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the highest front-month contract finish since March 17, FactSet data show.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Wells Fargo stock surges toward biggest post-earnings gain in a decade
Shares of Wells Fargo & Co. enjoyed a rare post-earnings gain, and it happens to be the biggest in a decade, after the bank reported first-quarter profit and revenue that rose above expectations. The stock rallied 4.9% toward a 13-month high. That would be just the fourth gain for the stock on the day after the past 20 quarterly reports were released. It is also on track to be the biggest one-day post-earnings gain since it hiked up 5.7% after second-quarter 2011 results were released on July 19, 2011. The stock has now soared 38.4% over the past three months, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF climbed 12.0% and the S&P 500 has gained 8.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Gold futures settle with a loss, move lower after Beige Book release
Gold futures settled with a loss on Wednesday, with strength in U.S. Treasury yields helping prices to lose most of what they gained in the previous session. Prices showed little reaction to comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to the Economic Club of Washington. Powell said the Fed would taper asset purchases well before any interest rate increase, but offered no date for a shift in policy. Gold prices then moved lower in electronic trading after the Fed Beige Book reported a moderate acceleration in the economy. June gold was at $1,734.60 an ounce in electronic dealings, after losing $11.30, or nearly 0.7%, to settle at $1,736.30 an ounce on Comex.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Molson Coors teams up with social impact company TRU Colors with plan to launch a lager this summer
Molson Coors Beverage Co. is teaming up with TRU Colors Brewery in a deal that is expected to lead to the launch of a first beer in the summer in North Carolina and Virginia, before expanding to all 50 states within two years. TRU Colors is a social impact company that was founded by George Taylor and rival gang leaders from the Bloods, Crips and GD, and has a mission of aiming to end street violence and unite communities across America. The company was formed in response to the killing of a 16-year old five years ago in a drive-by shooting. "At TRU Colors, we believe most street violence is driven by a lack of economic opportunity and societal exclusion, and therefore an inclusive economic solution is needed to stop it," Taylor, who is chief executive of the company, said in a statement. Molson Coors will make an equity investment and serve as strategic partner in helping TRU Colors distribute products, build its brand and market and sell them. The company has committed to diversifying its work force and increasing the number of people of color in its U.S. operations by 25% by end 2023. Molson has committed to donating a cumulative $3 million to 26 local and national organizations that are engaged in equality, justice and community building. The first beer to be produced is expected to be a lager called TRU Light, that will combine modern craft with iconic American beer. Molson shares were lower Wednesday, but have gained 13% in the year to date.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Harley-Davidson stock climbs after BofA kicks off coverage with a buy rating
Shares of Harley-Davidson Inc. rallied 1.0% in midday trading Wednesday, but pared earlier gains of as much as 5.3%, after BofA Securities analyst Robert Ohmes took a bullish stance on the motorcycle maker, citing signs of accelerating brand momentum after a year of aggressively managing supply. Ohmes initiated coverage of HOG with a buy rating and stock price target of $55, which implies a 33% gain from current levels. He sees a "significant market share opportunity in Europe" following the company's launch of its Pan America 1250 model, and believes the launch of electric motorcycles will help HOG target younger customers in the U.S. and drive growth in China and Europe. Ohmes also noted that pricing for used motorcycles has improved as supply was worked down, and with the implementation of a "Certified Pre-owned" program that brought customers into "a cleaner new and used market that should support pricing," sales of motorcycle parts and better margins for dealers. The stock has rallied 12.8% year to date and more than doubled (up 114%) over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has advanced 10.4% this year and 45.7% the past year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Apple CEO Tim Cook to testify at Apple-Epic trial
Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple Inc. , is among more than a dozen witnesses scheduled to speak on behalf of the company in its federal court trial next month vs. Epic Games Inc. over the 30% commission that Apple charges developers on its App Store. In addition to Cook, Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, and former marketing head Phil Schiller are on the witness list, according to a court filing by the iPhone maker Wednesday. Apple also listed professors in economics, computer science, and marketing as expert witnesses. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney is expected to testify as well.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

E.L.F. Beauty sees 70% point-of-sale increase heading into April with help from Grammy-winning artist Alicia Keys
E.L.F. Beauty Inc. saw a 70% point-of-sale jump in the four weeks ending April 4, according to IRI data presented in a D.A. Davidson note. D.A. Davidson increased its E.L.F. Beauty price target to $34 from $27, maintaining its buy stock rating. Analysts attributed the sales increase to marketing programs, stimulus checks and easier comps. Analysts also say that Keys Soulcare, the beauty brand E.L.F. launched in collaboration with Grammy-winning artist Alicia Keys during the third quarter, was a contributor. Keys Soulcare items are on Ulta Beauty Inc. shelves as well as in stores around the world and online. Beauty and personal care sales rose 16% in 2020 with consumers turning to do-it-yourself products and techniques during COVID-19, according to NielsenIQ data. African Americans and Latinos have been experimenting and spending "substantially more" than other racial groups, according to NielsenIQ. "The sharp rise in Black-owned beauty brands has allowed African Americans to discover an entirely new world of products that are specifically geared towards them and their at-home needs, further fueling consumers' newfound preference for natural beauty and DIY self care," the report said. "Hispanic and African American consumers have a track record of far out-spending other ethnic groups when it comes to beauty and personal care, and we can expect multicultural consumers to fuel cosmetics growth into 2021 as they look for products that enhance their natural beauty rather than mask it." E.L.F. Beauty stock was up 2.3% in Wednesday trading, and has gained 14.7% for the year to date, outpacing the S&P 500 index , which is up 10.3% for 2021 so far. Also see: Cosmetics brand E.L.F. is partnering with Chipotle on a burrito- and guacamole-inspired makeup line

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Alkami Technology's stock surges in it debut, valuing the company at more than $3.8 bi
Investors cheered as Alkami Technology Inc. went public Wednesday, as the digital banking company's stock opened 3.7% above its initial public offering price of $30 a share. The stock's first trade on the Nasdaq was at $41.26 at 11:24 a.m. Eastern for 565,569 shares. The stock added to its gains since the open, to trade up 55.2% at $46.57, to imply a market capitalization of $3.87 billion. The company went public at a time of tempered investor demand for IPOs, as the Renaissance IPO ETF has shed 5.8% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has gained 9.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

EIA reports a nearly 6 million-barrel weekly decline in U.S. crude supplies
The Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday that U.S. crude inventories fell by 5.9 million barrels for the week ended April 9. On average, analysts polled by S&P Global Platts forecast a decline of 2.9 million barrels for crude stocks, while the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday reported a 3.6 million-barrel decrease, according to sources. The EIA data also showed crude stocks at the Cushing, Okla., storage hub edged up by 400,000 barrels for the week. The EIA also reported that gasoline supply was up by 300,000 barrels, while distillate stockpiles fell by 2.1 million barrels for the week. The S&P Global Platts survey had forecast a supply fall of 200,000 barrels for gasoline, but distillate inventories were expected to rise by 700,000 barrels. Oil prices extended earlier gains shortly after the supply data, with May West Texas Intermediate crude up $2.23, or 3.7%, at $62.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices were trading at $61.57 before the supply data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

PepsiCo targets Black and Latino diners with Manzanita Sol launch in New York City
PepsiCo Inc. said Wednesday that it will launch Manzanita Sol, an apple-flavored carbonated beverage, in New York City with outreach directly to Black and Latino diners. PepsiCo has partnered with four food trucks in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx that specialize in Caribbean food from islands like Puerto Rico and Trinidad to give away food and drink on April 17 and April 18. Manzanita Sol will also provide funding directly to the Black and Latino food truck owners in support of their businesses. PepsiCo stock has fallen 4.3% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index is up 10.5% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Alkami Technology set to go public as IPO priced above the expected range
Alkami Technology Inc. is set to go public Wednesday, as the Texas-based digital banking company said it initial public offering of 6 million shares priced at $30 a share. The pricing was above the expected range of between $26 and $28 a share, which was raised this week from previous expectations of between $22 and $25 a share. With the pricing, the company raised $180.0 million and was valued at about $2.5 billion. The company is looking to go public on the Nasdaq, on a day in which the Renaissance IPO ETF is rising 0.8% to outperform the S&P 500's 0.2% gain.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Kohl's adds three independent directors, expands share repurchase program, ending dispute with activist investors
Kohl's Corp. announced Wednesday morning that it has come to an agreement with a group of activist investors, including Macellum Advisors GP, LLC and Ancora Holdings, Inc., that collectively own 9.3% of outstanding shares in the department store retailer. Kohl's has agreed to add two independent directors selected by the investor group: Margaret Jenkins, a former director at PVH Corp. and former chief marketing officer at Denny's Corp. ; and Thomas Kingsbury, an independent director at Big Lots Inc. , Tractor Supply Co. and BJ'S Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc. Kingsbury will also join the new finance committee of the board, which will provide capital allocation oversight. A third independent director selected by Kohl's, Christine Day, co-founder of a social responsibility-focused fashion group, The House of LR&C, will also be placed on the board. All will join at the close of the 2021 shareholders meeting. Steve Burd will retire from the board at the end of August 2021; Frank Sica will retire around the time of the 2022 shareholders meeting. The board has also expanded Kohl's share repurchase program to $2 billion. The activist investor group had targeted five board members and questioned the business momentum that the company said it had to turnaround the business. Kohl's stock has rallied 52.5% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index is up 10.4% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Stocks open mixed on big day for earnings, listings
U.S. stock indexes opened modestly higher Wednesday as first-quarter corporate earnings season kicked off, with the nation's biggest banks offering a mixed reading on the economy and outlook. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 11 points to open near 33,688, while the S&P 500 ticked down 2 points to trade near 4,140. The Nasdaq Composite index gained 9 points, less than 0.1%, trading near 14,005. Shares of JPMorgan Chase slipped in early trade after the bank said it had seen healthy growth in most areas, but low interest rates continued to weigh on net interest income. Investors will also watch the price of Bitcoin , which surged past $64,000 in premarket trading ahead of the first day of trading for crypto exchange Coinbase .

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Goldman's stock gain, J.P. Morgan's stock drop would add a net 10 points to the Dow's price
The Dow Jones Industrial Average's two earnings reporters are on the opposite ends of the premraket gainers/losers list, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s stock leading the gainers with a 1.0% rise and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. shares dropping 1.2% to pace the decliners. On a net basis, the earnings reporters' stock would add about 10 points to the Dow's price, while Dow futures slipped 12 points, or less than 0.1% ahead of the open, as Goldman's implied price gain would add 22 points and J.P. Morgan Chase's implied price decline would shave off about 12 points. Both Goldman and J.P. Morgan Chase reported earlier first-quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

GameStop stock rallies, is on track to snap longest losing streak in 3 1/2 years
Shares of GameStop Corp. rallied 3.6% in premarket trading Wednesday, which puts the so-called "meme" stock on track to snap the longest losing streak in 3 1/2 years, after the videogame and consumer electronics retailer said it plans to retire some debt early. After a seesaw trading session on Tuesday, in which the stock was up as much as 3.0% and down as much as 6.4% intraday, the stock settled down 0.1% to suffer a seventh-straight decline, in which it shed 26.4%. That's the longest losing streak since the stock fell for 11-straight sessions to Nov. 6, 2017. Late Tuesday, the company said it will use cash on hand to retire more than $200 million worth of 10.0% senior notes due 2023. GameStop shares have lost 46.7% over the past month through Tuesday but have still rocketed 648.4% year to date, while the S&P 500 has tacked on 5.0% the past month and gained 10.3% this year.

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Apr 14, 2021

EU moves up delivery for 50 million BioNTech and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses
The European Union has reached an agreement to speed up delivery of 50 million more doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to boost the continent's vaccination program. "Those 50 million doses were initially foreseen for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2021. Now they are available in quarter 2," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement on Wednesday. Johnson & Johnson has delayed its deliveries of vaccines in the EU. U.S. regulatory authorities on Tuesday advised the suspension of those shots after after six women were diagnosed with severe blood clots. The European Medicines Agency is also reviewing those shots. Von der Leyen said the EU is also negotiating with Pfizer-BioNTech for a third contract that will deliver 1.8 billion doses over 2021 to 2023. Production of the vaccines and all essential components will be based in the EU. She added that the EU reached a milestone of 100 million vaccinations as of Wednesday, with more than a quarter are second doses.

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Apr 14, 2021

Hundreds of companies and executives sign statement opposing voting restrictions in two-page ad in New York Times
A group of hundreds of big U.S. companies and executives have signed a new statement opposing "any discriminatory legislation" that would make it harder for people to vote, and published it in a two-page ad in the New York Times on Wednesday. The companies include Amazon.com Inc. , Alphabet's Google , and investors including Warren Buffett. The move comes after a number of voting-related proposals from Republicans, notably in Georgia, that have caused controversy and ignited protests from a range of constituencies. Republican leaders have responded by telling companies to stay out of politics -- but not to stop financing them. The statement was put together over the past week and a half and led by Ken Chenault, a former chief executive of Amex and Ken Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co. , according to the Times. The paper notes some notable omissions from the list, including Coca-Cola Co. and Delta , two key businesses that are headquartered in Atlanta and were among the first to condemn the Georgia bill. JP Morgan Chase and its CEO Jamie Dimon also declined to sign the statement, even after his annual letter to shareholders last weekhighlighted his concerns about inequality, the widening wealth gap and the protests that followed the death of George Floyd last year.

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Apr 14, 2021

Exxon Mobil stock gains after Raymond James analyst backs off long-time bearish stance
Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. rose 1.0% in premarket trading Wednesday, after Raymond James analyst James Jenkins backed away from his more-than two-year long bearish stance, citing the emergence of earnings momentum and "less negative" relative valuation. "With the recent downdraft in the stock (off ~10% over the past month), we think it's the right time to get less negative in our outlook for [Exxon Mobil]," Jenkins wrote in a note to clients. "1Q21 earnings indicators show a solid measure of improvement, pushing the company in the right direction of that part of the "show me" story." Jenkins upgraded the oil giant's stock to market perform after being at underperform since November 2018. He said he believes the risk-vs.-reward profile "skews less negative in the context of our relative optimism on oil prices," and the likelihood for a return to normal in Exxon Mobil's downstream business. Despite the selloff in the past month, Exxon Mobil's stock has hiked up 35.2% year to date through Tuesday, while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF has rallied 26.3%, crude oil futures have run up 26.2% and the S&P 500 has advanced 10.3%.

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Apr 14, 2021

Wells Fargo earnings boosted by release of $1.6 billion in loan loss reserves
Wells Fargo & Co. posted stronger-than-expected profit and revenue for the first quarter, boosted by the release of $1.6 billion in its reserves for credit losses. The San Francisco-based bank posted net income of $4.742 billion, or $1.05 a share, in the quarter, up from $653 million, or 1 cent a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $18.063 billion from $17.717 billion. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of 71 cents and revenue of $17.518 billion. Chief Executive Charlie Scharf said earnings were boosted by an improving U.S. economy as well as the big reduction in loan loss reserves as loans did not sour during the pandemic as feared. "Charge-offs are at historic lows and we are making changes to improve our operations and efficiency, but low interest rates and tepid loan demand continued to be a headwind for us in the quarter," Scharf said in a statement. Net interest income fell 22%, mostly due to low interest rates. Noninterest income rose 45%, as the year-earlier period included securities impairments and lower deferred compensation plan investment results, mostly due to lower market valuations at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Revenue at the consumer and small business segment was down 6%, while home lending was up 19%. Credit card revenue fell 2%, due to lower balances on elevated payment rates. Auto revenue rose 6%, while personal lending was down 18%. Corporate and investment banking revenue fell 6%. Markets revenue rose 19%, on higher demand for asset-backed finance products, other credit products and municipal bonds, which were offset by lower demand for rates products and lower revenue in equities and commodities. Shares were slightly lower premarket, but have gained 31%n the year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 10%.

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Apr 14, 2021

Bed Bath & Beyond swings to profit but sales fall short
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. stock dropped 9% in Wednesday premarket trading after the home goods retailer reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations, but fell short on sales. Net income totaled $9.1 million, or 8 cents per share, after a loss of $65.4 million, or 53 cents per share, last year. Adjusted EPS of 40 cents beat the FactSet consensus for 31 cents. Sales of $2.619 billion were down from $3.107 billion last year and just below the FactSet consensus for $2.627 billion. Enterprise digital comp growth was 86%, with the namesake chain up 99%. And enterprise comp sales growth was 4% with the Bed Bath & Beyond chain up 6%. Other Bed Bath & Beyond names include Buy Buy Baby and Harmon. For fiscal 2021, Bed Bath & Beyond maintained its guidance for net sales between $8.0 billion and $8.2 billion. The FactSet consensus is for $8.177 billion. For the first quarter, the company expects net sales on a reported basis to increase 40% year-over-year. The company experienced store closures in the comparable 2020 period and there have been divestitures. Taking that into account, net sales on a reported basis are expected to rise 65% to 70%. The FactSet consensus is for sales of $1.908 billion, suggesting a 45.9% increase. The company increased its three-year share repurchase plan to $1 billion from $825 million. Bed Bath & Beyond stock has rallied 57.3% for the year to date while the benchmark S&P 500 index is up 10.3% for the period.

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Apr 14, 2021

Goldman Sachs stock rises after record profit and revenue beat by wide margins
Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. rose 1.7% in premarket trading Wednesday after the bank and brokerage company reported record profit and revenue that beat expectations, amid a big beat in its equities business and as provisions for credit losses swung to a benefit. Net income grew to $6.71 billion, or $18.60 a share, from $1.12 billion, or $3.11 a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus was for earnings per share of $10.22. Total revenue doubled, to $17.70 billion from $8.74 billion, to beat the FactSet consensus of $12.56 billion, as net interest income increased 12.9% to $1.48 billion to beat expectations of $1.34 billion. Among business segments, investment banking revenue soared 73% and global markets revenue increased 47%. Within global markets, rixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) revenue grew 31% to $3.89 billion, above the FactSet consensus $3.04 billion, while equities revenue rose 68% to $3.69 billion to surpass expectations of $2.38 billion. Provision for credit losses swung to a net benefit of $70 million from provisions of $937 million. The stock has gained 6.4% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has advanced 11.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has tacked on 9.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

New Residential Investment to acquire Caliber Home Loans for $1.675 billion in cash
New Residential Investment Corp. said Wednesday it has entered an agreement with units of Lone Star Funds to acquire Caliber Home Loans Inc. for $1.675 billion in cash. The deal will combine New Residential's wholly owned mortgage originator and servicer NewRez LLC with Caliber's platform and is expected to close in the third quarter. "With this acquisition, we have significantly strengthened our capabilities to perform across interest rate environments," New Residential Chief Executive Michael Nierenberg said in a statement. The deal is expected to boost 2022 return on equity and to be accretive to earnings in the first full calendar year after closing. Caliber had pre-tax income of $891 million in 2020 and its return on equity came to 53%. New Residential will fund the deal using a mixture of existing cash and available liquidity as well as equity and the sale of certain investment securities. Shares rose 0.3% premarket, and are up 10% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 10%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Dollar General aims to hire 20,000 at nationwide hiring events
Dollar General Corp. said Wednesday that it aims to hire up to 20,000 people at in-person and virtual hiring events that the discount retailer will host from April 19 through April 23. There are a wide range of open positions from part-time and full-time sales associates, to store managers, HR and maintenance at distribution centers, drivers for the company's private fleet and in the support center. Dollar General stock is up 0.8% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index has gained 10.3% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

J.P. Morgan net profit soars 5-fold to $14.3 billion and revenue tops expectations, but stock slips
Shares of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. fell 1.1% in premarket trading Wednesday, even as the banking giant reported first-quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations, as results benefited from an improving economy and credit reserve releases of $5.2 billion. Net income rose to $14.30 billion, or $4.50 a share, from $2.87 billion, or 78 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, such as credit reserve releases, adjusted EPS came to $3.31, above the FactSet consensus of $3.09. Net revenue rose 14% to $33.1 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $30.5 billion. Consumer and community banking revenue fell 6% to $12.52 billion, matching the FactSet consensus, while corporate and investment bank revenue jumped 46% to $14.6 billion to top expectations of $12.6 billion. Net interest income fell 11% to $13.0 billion, driven primarily by lower interest rates, to miss expectations of $13.2 billion. "With all of the stimulus spending, potential infrastructure spending, continued Quantitative Easing, strong consumer and business balance sheets and euphoria around the potential end of the pandemic, we believe that the economy has the potential to have extremely robust, multi-year growth," said Chief Executive Jamie Dimon. The stock has run up 21.3% year to date through Tuesday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has tacked on 4.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 10.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 14, 2021

Moderna offers update on vaccine program, to launch studies of flu, HIV vaccine candidates in 2021
Moderna Inc. said Wednesday it is hosting its second annual Vaccines Day, offering an update on studies of its mRNA vaccine candidates in a range of illnesses, including flu, HIV and other viruses. The Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech announced positive interim data from a Phase 1 trial of a vaccine candidate against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and positive data from a Phase 2 trial of its cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine candidate. The company, which has won emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine based on its mRNA technology, is planning to invest in the platform to accelerate the development of its pipeline. Moderna expects to start Phase I trials of a flu vaccine candidate and a HIV vaccine candidate in 2021. "We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop new vaccines against viruses hurting people around the world, at a pace that is radically different from what the industry has previously done," Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel said in a statement. To date, Moderna has entered 14 vaccine candidates into clinical trials. Shares were up 1.1% premarket, but have gained 43% in the year to date, while the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF has fallen 8% and the S&P 500 has gained 10.3%.

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