President Trump expected to veto House's $1.5T infrastructure bill if it comes to him
Catch up on the top industries and stocks that were impacted, or were predicted to be impacted, by the comments, actions and policies of President Donald Trump and his administration with this weekly recap compiled by The Fly:
1. INFRASTRUCTURE BILL: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a $1.5T infrastructure bill, as Democrats pursued their own legislation without the bipartisan agreement discussed for years during the Trump administration, the Wall Street Journal's Andrew Duehren reported. Nearly 40 House Democrats joined with House Republicans to approve a last-minute amendment to the bill on the floor, with the change seeking to bar the government from using funds in the legislation to enter into contracts with Chinese state-owned companies or Chinese companies that construct facilities for interning Uighurs in western China, Duehren said.
The measure pours over $300B into repairing bridges and roads, $130B into schools that educate low-income children, over $100B into building or preserving affordable housing and $100B into expanding broadband internet access, the author said, noting that Republicans oppose the bill, which also includes several measures aimed at combating climate change. The White House has said the President would veto the bill if it came to him, the author noted. Publicly traded companies in the infrastructure space include Fluor Corp (FLR), Vulcan Materials (VMC), Eagle Materials (EXP), Martin Marietta Materials (MLM), Caterpillar (CAT), Aecom (ACM), Granite Construction (GVA), Quanta Services (PWR), Jacobs (J) and U.S. Concrete (USCR).
2. CAMPAIGN SPENDING ON FACEBOOK: President Trump's re-election campaign has started spending heavily on Facebook (FB) advertisements that also promote the social media pages of Brad Parscale, Trump's campaign manager, running over $325,000 in ads, largely in recent weeks, The New York Times' Shane Goldmacher reported. Parscale is one of just three people whose Facebook and Instagram accounts the campaign has used to display ads, with the other two being Donald J. Trump and Mike Pence, Goldmacher said. Digital strategists said it was very unusual to use a campaign staff member's page to run such ads, though the Trump campaign claims that it was testing the use of the campaign manager's page to run ads and that Parscale had not received any financial gain, the author noted.
Meanwhile, several brands including Unilever (UL), Verizon (VZ), Procter & Gamble (PG), Fossil (FOSL), Best Buy (BBY), Coca-Cola (KO), Target (TGT), American Honda (HMC), Starbucks (SBUX), Denny’s (DENN), Clorox (CLX), Ford (F), Microsoft (MSFT), Adidas (ADDYY), PepsiCo (PEP), HP Inc. (HPQ), SAP (SAP), Six Flags (SIX), Conagra Brands (CAG), and Dunkin’ (DNKN) halted or are evaluating advertising their products in the U.S. on Facebook in support of a campaign that called out the company for not doing enough to stop hate speech on its platform.
3. TWITCH TEMPORARILY BANS TRUMP: Amazon's (AMZN) Twitch has temporarily banned President Trump for "hateful conduct" that was aired on stream, and Twitch says the offending content has been removed, The Verge's Jacob Kastrenakes reported earlier this week. "Like anyone else, politicians on Twitch must adhere to our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. We do not make exceptions for political or newsworthy content, and will take action on content reported to us that violates our rules," a Twitch spokesperson told The Verge. The suspension comes a week after Twitch pledged to crack down on harassment within the community.
4. OPERATION WARP SPEED: Shares of Inovio (INO) were in the spotlight earlier this week after the company announced what it called “positive” interim clinical data of INO-4800, Inovio’s vaccine candidate against novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2, from the first two Phase 1 clinical txrial cohorts. In addition, Inovio said that its INO-4800 has been selected to participate in a non-human primate, or NHP, challenge study as part of the U.S. government's Operation Warp Speed, a new national program aiming to provide substantial quantities of safe, effective vaccine for Americans by January 2021. Inovio has also expanded its Phase 1 trial to add older participants in additional cohorts and plans to initiate a Phase 2/3 efficacy trial this summer upon regulatory concurrence.
Following the news, Roth Capital analyst Jonathan Aschoff downgraded the stock to Sell from Hold calling the preliminary Phase 1 results from its trial with SARS-CoV-2 vaccine INO-4800 "very limited." Despite its inclusion in the White House's Operation Warp Speed initiative, the analyst was "unimpressed that further preclinical work is required, rather than proceeding straight to later stage trials."
Operation Warp Speed aims to deliver 300M doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021, as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Pfizer (PFE), BioNTech (BNTX) and Moderna (MRNA) are also in the process of developing an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. The latter was under pressure on Thursday after Damian Garde of STAT reported that a 30,000-patient trial of the company’s coronavirus vaccine candidate which was expected to start next week has been delayed. Moderna is making changes to the trial plan, which has pushed back the expected start date of the Phase 3 study, Garde said, citing investigators. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the investigators emphasized that protocol changes are common but added that it's not clear how long the start will be delayed, he added. Following the STAT report, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC following that the trial is on track to start in July.
"Week in Review" is The Fly's weekly recap of its recurring series of "Trump Effect" exclusive stories.