Stocks head into Christmas break near record highs
As expected on Christmas Eve, it was a quiet trading session without any notable macro news, though there were a few noteworthy pieces of news on some individual stocks. The broader narrative for stocks has been generally "risk on" since the signing of the USMCA and China "phase one" trade deals and the victory of Boris Johnson in the U.K. general election and it appears probable that stocks will drift near their record levels into the new year.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., no economic data of note was reported.
COMPANY NEWS: Uber Technologies (UBER) announced that Travis Kalanick will resign from the company's board, effective December 31, to focus on his new business and philanthropic endeavors. "I'm proud of all that Uber has achieved, and I will continue to cheer for its future from the sidelines. I want to thank the board, Dara and the entire Uber team for everything they have done to further the Uber mission," said Kalanick, who recently has sold more than $2.5B worth of Uber stock in less than two months and is speculated to have sold, or be near to selling, his entire stake in the company he co-founded.
Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) rose by as much as about 6% after a report claimed that its new CEO, who joined a few months ago from Target (TGT), had managed to find a new CEO from the retail giant he'd just left. Reorg reported earlier, according to Bloomberg, Bed Bath had hired former Target CFO Cathy Smith to take the same role, replacing Robyn D'Elia. However, after a spokesperson for Bed Bath & Beyond told Bloomberg that the Reorg report about the company hiring a new CFO is "inaccurate" the stock pared its gains, ending the day nearly 4% higher.
In M&A news, Anixter International (AXE) shares gained 3% to close near $90 following news that the company agreed to an amended merger agreement in which Clayton, Dubilier & Rice will increase its takeout offer to $86 per share from $82.50, plus an added $2.50 cash contingent value right if CD&R either enters into a definitive agreement to buy Wesco (WCC) as well or agrees to sell Anixter to Wesco within a year of closing. Wesco subsequently confirmed that it is seeking to acquire Anixter and has most recently made an offer valued at $90 per Anixter share. Commenting on both pieces of news, Raymond James analyst Sam Darkatsh said he believes Wesco still appears to be in a strong position to acquire Anixter, but maintains his previously stated view that Wesco would likely have to raise its offer above $90 per share, made up mostly of cash, for it to be formally deemed a superior bid.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Myriad Genetics (MYGN), which bounced back today after a sharp selloff on Monday that is believed to have been triggered by a Wall Street Journal article on Friday discussing how the company had reclassified a BRCA gene variant from "pathogenic" to "unknown significance." Susan Manley, a board-certified genetic counselor and SVP of medical services at Myriad, said of the decision that the company makes "these reclassifications very carefully. The science is evolving."
Also higher was Evolent Health (EVH), which closed yesterday up 7% and advanced a further 8% on Tuesday following the news that Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is canceling and rebidding the state's Medicaid managed care contracts after ending the prior administration's Medicaid waiver last week. The previous administration awarded nearly $8 billion in contracts to five managed care organizations and Passport Health, Evolent's largest client, was not initially selected as one of those five winners.
Among the notable losers was Stealth Biotherapeutics (MITO), which fell a further 9% as the stock continues to sell off in the wake of the recent failure of a Phase 3 clinical study.
Also lower was CEL-SCI (CVM), which slid 6.5% after pricing its underwritten public offering of 606,395 shares of the company's common stock at a price of $9.07 per share.
INDEXES: The Dow dipped 36.08(-0.13%, to 28,515.45
, the Nasdaq rose 7.24(+0.08%, to 8,952.88
, and the S&P 500 was virtually flat, closing at 3,223.38.