U.S. stock markets were back in rally mode after Chinese state media's more positive view on a domestic recovery gave a further boost to sentiment following the robust U.S. jobs report last Thursday. Berkshire's purchase of natural gas assets in the firm's first big deal in years was also 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. Looking at the states, Florida reported 206,477 COVID-19 cases, up from 200,111 yesterday, with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announcing an emergency order to close restaurants and gyms in the area. Arizona also reported 3,352 more COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported that total COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state are down to 817, with nine virus-related fatalities yesterday.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Uber (UBER) rose 6% after the company announced an agreement to acquire Postmates for approximately $2.65B in an all-stock transaction.
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. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported Energy Transfer (ET) will "immediately" file a motion to stay an order from a federal judge who sided with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and ordered the Dakota Access pipeline to shut down until more environmental review is done.
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.
Meanwhile, The Information reported that Microsoft (MSFT) has expressed interest in buying Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, AT&T's (T) video games business. CNBC reported last month that Take-Two (TTWO), Electronic Arts (EA), and Activision Blizzard (ATVI) have all expressed interest in acquiring the business.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Criteo (CRTO), which rose 16.5% after the company provided Q2 revenue guidance above consensus estimates. Also higher was Becton Dickinson (BDX), which gained 2.2% 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. Later in the day, the FDA said it alerted clinical laboratory staff about an increased risks of a false positive result with the BD Max System test.
Among the notable losers was Bellus Health (BLU), which plunged 71.7% after its Phase 2 chronic cough trial did not achieve statistical significance. Also lower was ObsEva (OBSV), which dropped 47.2% 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: The Dow rose 459.67, or 1.78%, to 26,287.03, the Nasdaq gained 226.02, or 2.21%, to 10,433.65, and the S&P 500 advanced 49.71, or 1.59%, to 3,179.72.