U.S. stock markets are back in rally mode as Chinese state media's more positive view on a domestic recovery has further underpinned sentiment following the robust U.S. jobs report on Thursday. Berkshire's purchase of natural gas assets in the firm's first big deal since the pandemic started has also been supportive of the market despite the fact that the U.S. is delaying or walking back reopenings in many states while the rise in virus cases is causing new regional lockdowns in several European countries.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In U.S. data, the final Markit services index for June rose to 47.9, improving upon the 46.7 flash reading. The ISM non-manufacturing index jumped 11.7 points to 57.1 in June, which was much stronger than forecast.
The latest data from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering shows there are now 11.48M confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, including 2.9M in the U.S., and 535,027 deaths due to the disease.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Uber (UBER) are 6.5% higher near noon after the company announced an agreement to acquire Postmates for approximately $2.65B in an all-stock transaction. "This transaction brings together Uber's global Rides and Eats platform with Postmates' delivery business in the U.S. Additionally, Postmates has been an early pioneer of 'delivery-as-a-service,' which complements Uber's efforts in the delivery of groceries, essentials and other goods," the company stated.
In other M&A news, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A; BRK.B), announced it has executed a definitive agreement to acquire Dominion Energy's (D) natural gas transmission and storage business in a transaction with an enterprise value of approximately $9.7B. Additionally, Dominion and Duke Energy (DUK) announced the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline due to ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty which threaten the economic viability of the project. "Despite last month's overwhelming 7-2 victory at the United States Supreme Court, which vindicated the project and decisions made by permitting agencies, recent developments have created an unacceptable layer of uncertainty and anticipated delays for ACP," according to the companies.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) announced the initiation of late-stage clinical trials evaluating REGN-COV2, the company's investigational double antibody cocktail for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. Regeneron said that a Phase 3 trial will evaluate REGN-COV2's ability to prevent infection among uninfected people who have had close exposure to a COVID-19 patient, and is being run jointly with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Criteo (CRTO), which rose 19% after the company provided Q2 revenue guidance above consensus estimates.
Also higher was Becton Dickinson (BDX), which gained 3.5% after announcing that the FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization, or EUA, for a rapid, point-of-care, SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test for use with its "broadly available" BD Veritor Plus System.
Among the notable losers was Bellus Health (BLU), which plunged 77% after its Phase 2 chronic cough trial did not achieve statistical significance.
Also lower was ObsEva (OBSV), which dropped 45% after announcing top-line results from the PRIMROSE 1 and 2 studies of Yselty to assess the efficacy and safety in women with heavy menstrual bleeding due to uterine fibroids.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 373.23, or 1.45%, to 26,200.59, the Nasdaq was up 250.69, or 2.46%, to 10,458.32, and the S&P 500 was up 49.60, or 1.58%, to 3,179.61.