| 2017-01-11 16:19:31|
MRK, BMY… 16:19 01/11 01/11/17
On The Fly: Top stock stories for Wednesday
Stocks had a volatile session for the first time in weeks after a string of very quiet days of trading. The market started with modest gains and appeared to be headed for another dull session as investors look toward the kickoff of the fourth quarter earnings season on Friday. The averages broke out of their range as President-elect Trump began his first press conference since he won the election. He immediately attacked the pharmaceutical industry and the market gave up its gains. After turning negative, the market gathered itself and almost recaptured what it lost before stalling and moving lower once again. Heading into the final hour of trading the averages moved back toward session highs, though the Dow once again fell short of finally hitting 20,000. ECONOMIC NEWS: In the U.S., crude oil inventories showed a 4.1M build versus the consensus call for a 1.5M build last week. In his first press conference since before the election, President-elect Trump, in addition to his headline-making criticism of the pharmaceutical industry, said that he will step down from his positions at the Trump Organization, but that he will not divest his ownership. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Merck (MRK) closed with a gain of 2.85%, though that is well off the stock's early morning high, after the company announced the Food and Drug Administration has accepted for priority review its application for its immunotherapy drug Keytruda with chemotherapy as an initial treatment for advanced lung cancer. Conversely, Bristol-Myers (BMY), which is developing a competing immuno-oncology therapy, dropped 5.3% following the news. Several of their large-cap pharmaceutical peers also moved downward after President-elect Donald Trump said that the drug industry is "getting away with murder" in terms of pricing of drugs in the U.S., adding "We are going to start bidding, we are going to save billions of dollars." AbbVie (ABBV), Mylan (MYL), Eli Lily (LLY), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Novartis (NVS), Pfizer (PFE), and Sanofi (SNY) all pulled back after Trump's comments as well... Meanwhile, Exxon (XOM) and AT&T (T) were downgraded to neutral-equivalent ratings by Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank, respectively, today. The downgrades of the two members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average follow this week's rating cuts of other Dow components, including Coca-Cola (KO) and Goldman Sachs (GS), and come on the same day that former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding his nomination to become Secretary of State in the upcoming administration... Volkswagen (VLKAY) has agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts and pay a $2.8B criminal penalty as a result of the company's "long-running scheme to sell approximately 590,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. by using a defeat device to cheat on emissions tests mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, and lying and obstructing justice to further the scheme," the Justice Department announced. In separate civil resolutions of environmental, customs and financial claims, VW has agreed to pay an additional $1.5B. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Workday (WDAY), which advanced nearly 10% after the company announced that Wal-Mart (WMT) has purchased a subscription to its human resources services offering. This morning, William Blair analyst Justin Furby told investors that he learned from some of its partners that the company had recently signed a mega retailer. Also higher was Derma Sciences (DSCI), which gained 39% after the company announced it has signed a definitive agreement whereby it will be acquired by Integra LifeSciences (IART) for $7.00 per share of common stock in cash, or a total of approximately $204M. Following the news, Integra LifeSciences dropped about 3.5%. Among the noteworthy losers was SUPERVALU (SVU), which fell over 7% after the company's third quarter results missed estimates. Also lower was Ethan Allen Interiors (ETH), which dropped about 10.5% after announcing worse than expected second quarter guidance. INDEXES: The Dow rose 98.75, or 0.5%, to 19,954.28, the Nasdaq gained 11.83, or 0.21%, to 5,563.65, and the S&P 500 advanced 6.42, or 0.28%, to 2,275.32.
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