Stocks end higher as Nasdaq closes out week at record high
Stock futures were weaker overnight and in early morning trading amid ongoing worries over the resurgence of the virus in the U.S. and after Asia's major stock markets posted losses. However, markets in the U.S. reversed following positive news on Gilead's drug, remdesivir, and its ability to cut down on the risk of death from COVID-19. The averages finished the day near session highs, with the Nasdaq setting a new record close in the process.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In U.S. data, the producer prices index final demand figure fell 0.2% in June, and the core PPI dropped 0.3%, each of which were lower than expected. In energy news, Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. rig count is down 5 rigs from last week to 258.
The latest data from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering shows there are now 12.3M confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, including 3.12M in the U.S., and 555,531 deaths due to the disease. On the state level among U.S. hot spots, Florida reported 244,151 COVID-19 cases, up from 232,718 yesterday. Bloomberg reported that California reported 7,798 new cases in the state, while Nevada reported 1,004 new cases and Arizona reported 4,221 new cases of the virus.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Gilead Sciences (GILD) advanced 2.2% after the company announced additional data on remdesivir, its investigational antiviral for the treatment of COVID-19. In a comparative analysis of the Phase 3 SIMPLE-Severe trial and a real-world retrospective cohort of patients with severe COVID-19, remdesivir was associated with an improvement in clinical recovery and a 62% reduction in the risk of mortality compared with standard of care, Gilead reported.
Goldman Sachs analyst Heath Terry raised the firm's price target on Netflix (NFLX) to a "Street high" $670 from $540 and reiterated a Conviction Buy rating on the shares, telling investors that he expects Netflix to report Q2 results "well above guidance" next week.
Amazon (AMZN) received its own "Street high" target from Citi analyst Jason Bazinet, who raised the firm's price target on the e-commerce giant's shares to $3,550 from $2,700. Bazinet estimates Amazon's share of the U.S. e-commerce market increased from 28% in 2015 to 38% in 2019, and he expects it to reach 43% by 2022.
Additionally, after first going public in 2008, and then going private in 2016 after accepting a $4.3B buyout from Apollo Global Management (APO), Rackspace is taking aim again at a public offering. Rackspace Technology (RXT) announced that it has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the SEC for an IPO and has applied for listing its common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol "RXT".
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Greenbrier (GBX), which gained 15.5% after reporting quarterly results. Also higher was Shyft (SHYF), which rose 14.1% after Amazon confirmed to Reuters that it ordered over 2,200 heavy-duty Ultimaster delivery trucks from the company.
Among the notable losers was Beyond Meat (BYND), which slipped 4.4% after Citi analyst Wendy Nicholson initiated coverage of the stock with a Sell rating and $123 price target. Also lower was Fastly (FSLY), which fell 7.6% after Craig-Hallum analyst Jeff Van Rhee downgraded the stock to Hold from Buy and BofA analyst Tal Liani double-downgraded shares to Underperform from Buy. Meanwhile, Workhorse (WKHS) shares fell 5.5% after Hindenburg Research said it is short the stock, saying it believes there's "immediate 50% downside."
INDEXES: The Dow rose 369.21, or 1.44%, to 26,075.30, the Nasdaq gained 69.69, or 0.66%, to 10,617.44, and the S&P 500 advanced 32.99, or 1.05%, to 3,185.04.
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