Stocks end week on up note as Democrats work on new stimulus bid
Stocks finished out the week with a strong day of trading as the Nasdaq lead the way with an advance of more than 2%. While concern remains over the U.S. elections and disappointment that Washington has not delivered more stimulus, there may be potential for the stimulus talks to resume as reports indicate that Democrats are working on a new proposal.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., durable goods orders edged up 0.4% in August, which was less than expected. In energy news, Baker Hughes reported that the U.S rig count is up 6 from last week to 261 with oil rigs up 4 to 183.
Data from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering shows there are now 32.3M confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, including nearly 7M in the U.S., and 984,278 deaths due to the disease, including about 203,000 in the U.S.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Costco (COST) were 1.3% lower after the company reported quarterly results last night. Morgan Stanley analyst Simeon Gutman, who said the "knock" on the report was weaker flow-through than market expectation, thinks this should prove temporary and sees a rare "buy the dip" opportunity with the stock off its early September high, he told investors following the earnings report as he and several peers raised their price targets for the stock.
Boeing (BA) shares rose 6.8% following a pair of media reports related to its grounded 737 MAX aircraft. Bloomberg reported that Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson plans to test-fly a Boeing 737 MAX updated with a variety of fixes next week as the agency tries to show that its proposed changes to the grounded jet will be safe. Additionally, Reuters said that Patrick Ky, the executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, said that Boeing's grounded 737 MAX aircraft could receive regulatory approval to return to the air in November and enter service by the end of 2020.
In M&A news, William Hill (WIMHY) noted press speculation regarding a possible offer for the company and confirmed that it has received separate cash proposals from Apollo Management (APO) and Caesars Entertainment (CZR). "Following an initial written proposal from Apollo on August 27, William Hill received a further proposal from Apollo and proposals from Caesars," the company said.
In COVID-19 news, Novavax (NVAX) announced that it has initiated its first Phase 3 study to evaluate the efficacy, safety and immunogenicity of NVX-CoV2373, Novavax' COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The trial is being conducted in the United Kingdom, or UK, in partnership with the UK Government's Vaccines Taskforce and is expected to enroll and immunize up to 10,000 individuals between 18-84 years of age, with and without relevant comorbidities, over the next four to six weeks. Meanwhile, European governments will pay claims over an agreed upon limit against AstraZeneca (AZN) over unexpected side-effects from its potential COVID-19 vaccine, Reuters reported, citing an EU official. These terms are different than the terms of the agreement with Sanofi (SNY) as AstraZeneca secured the European Union's backing in a confidential agreement which reflects the lower price requested by the drugmaker, the official noted.
Reuters reported that U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols said that the White House must either postpone a ban on U.S. app stores offering TikTok for download or file legal documents defending the decision by Friday. The U.S. Commerce Department order banning Apple (AAPL) or Google's (GOOG) app stores from offering TikTok for new downloads is set to occur late Sunday. Later on, however, Reuters added that the U.S. Justice Department has said it intends to oppose TikTok's request to delay the ban. Oracle (ORCL) and Walmart (WMT) have agreed to take stakes in TikTok Global, a newly created U.S. company that will own most of the app's operations worldwide.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Colony Capital (CLNY), which rose 12.4% after it agreed to sell six hospitality portfolios to Highgate for $2.8B. Also higher was MobleIron (MOBL), which jumped 19.9% after Dealreporter said that the company is in advanced talks to be acquired.
Among the notable losers was Fluor (FLR), which slid 2.6% after it suspended all prior 2020 guidance. Also lower was First Majestic (AG), which fell 7.2% after it said it is assessing legal options in its dispute with Servicio de Administracion Tributaria.
INDEXES: The Dow rose 358.52, or 1.34%, to 27,173.96, the Nasdaq gained 241.29, or 2.26%, to 10,913.56, and the S&P 500 advanced 51.87, or 1.60%, to 3,298.46.