Stocks rise amid optimism for new pharmaceutical tools in fight against COVID-19
Stocks have been higher since the open after President Trump announced yesterday that the FDA approved blood-plasma treatment for emergency use while China approved a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency treatment.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Chicago Fed's National Activity index fell 4.2 points to 1.2 in July.
In energy markets, prices for WTI crude firmed in early N.Y. trading, supported by reports that more than half of U.S. Gulf of Mexico production has been shut in due to approaching tropical storms. The front-month contract topped $42.88 in early trading, up from Friday's close at $42.30.
TOP NEWS: Shares of producers of plasma derivative products were in focus after the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for investigational convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients. The FDA EUA news is positive for Grifols (GRFS) which, together with CSL (CSLLY) and Takeda Pharmaceutical (TAK), is one of the main producers of plasma derivatives in the U.S., Equita analyst Gianmarco Bonacina reportedly told investors in a research note. Additionally, XBiotech (XBIT) announced Monday that the announcement opens the door for the company's antibody screening technology used to identify convalescent plasma. Under a collaboration agreement, BioBridge Global will be using XBiotech's COVID-19 antibody test to identify the convalescent blood products.
In M&A news, Takeda announced that it has entered into an agreement to divest Takeda Consumer Healthcare Company Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Takeda focused on the consumer health care market primarily in Japan, to Oscar A-Co KK, a company controlled by funds managed by Blackstone Group (BX) and its affiliates
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty raised the firm's price target on Apple (AAPL) to $520, a new "Street high," from $431, citing her updated sum-of-the-parts analysis of the company.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Li Auto (LI), which rose 8.5% as Wall Street analysts rolled out their ratings and price targets following the company's recent IPO.
Also higher was iClick Interactive Asia (ICLK), which gained 2% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Odonate Therapeutics (ODT), which fell 39% after announcing top-line results from CONTESSA, a Phase 3 study of tesetaxel in patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Also lower was Novavax (NVAX), which fell 13% as the company announced that the first volunteers have been enrolled in the Phase 2 portion of its ongoing clinical trial to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of NVX-CoV2373, the company's COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The shares may also have been weighed down by a report that said the Trump administration is considering bypassing typical regulatory standards to fast-track an experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed in a partnership between AstraZeneca (AZN) and Oxford university.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 263.47, or 0.94%, to 28,193.80, the Nasdaq was up 72.62, or 0.64%, to 11,384.42, and the S&P 500 was up 25.91, or 0.76%, to 3,423.07.