Stocks pull back ahead of debate as virus positivity creeps back up in New York
Stocks are pulling back following two sessions of big gains as investors take some profits ahead of tonight's first debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Market volatility has risen as the U.S. election gets closer and the prospect for additional stimulus gets dimmer. House Democrats have prepared a $2.2T bill for a coronavirus-relief package, according to a statement released by the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was reported to be planning to speak to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday morning.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the advance indicators report revealed a widening in the goods trade deficit to an $82.9B all-time in August. The S&P Case/Shiller 20-city home price index climbed 0.6% to 226.6 in July. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index soared 15.5 points to a six-month high of 101.8 in September, which was much stronger than expected.
Data from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering shows there are now 33.4M confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, including 7.15M in the U.S., and 1M deaths due to the disease, including about 205,000 in the U.S.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted earlier that of the 88,231 tests reported yesterday in the state, 1,189 were positive.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said in a press conference from the White House yesterday afternoon that the federal government plans to distribute 150 million Abbott (ABT) rapid point-of-care tests in the coming weeks, with fifty million tests planned to go to "protect the most vulnerable communities" and 100 million tests to be given to states "to support efforts to reopen their economies and schools immediately and fast as they can." In his remarks, the president said "as we do more tests, you’re going to have automatically more cases," but "this should not cause undue alarm."
TOP NEWS: Shares of Beyond Meat (BYND) are on the rise on Tuesday after the company announced an expansion in its relationship with Walmart (WMT), with the latter planning to triple availability of the Beyond Burger in its stores beginning next week.
In other COVID-19 news, the NFL announced that the Tennessee Titans will suspend in-person club activities after COVID testing results returned three new player positives and five new personnel positives. The Minnesota Vikings, who played the Titans on Sunday, will also suspend in-person club activities, the league stated. Several stocks in the sports betting group - which includes Caesars (CZR), DraftKings (DKNG), MGM Resorts (MGM), Penn National (PENN), William Hill (WIMHY) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) - moved lower following the NFL news.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) announced that the firm has entered into agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission to resolve investigations into historical trading practices by former employees in the precious metals and U.S. treasuries markets. In connection with the agreements, the firm will pay a total of approximately $920M and has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ.
Building on the SPAC fervor that has gripped the market in recent months, two more companies came public today via mergers with such "blank check" vehicles. AppHarvest, which operates one of the largest high-tech greenhouses in the world and said it has a pipeline for future large-scale indoor farm projects, agreed to a business combination with Novus Capital (NOVS) that would result in AppHarvest becoming a public company. Meanwhile, LifeSci Acquisition and Vincera Pharma announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for a business combination. Vincera sees "the flexibility of being a publicly listed company" helping it to accelerate the growth of a pipeline currently driven by an exclusive option to license agreement with Bayer (BAYRY) for an oncology portfolio as well as a preclinical bioconjugation platform "developed to overcome the limitations of antibody and small molecule drug conjugates."
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Aptorum Group (APM), which skyrocketed 684% higher after announcing the launch of Aptorum Innovations, an infectious disease liquid biopsy diagnostics subsidiary and its newly established exclusive in-licensing arrangements with Accelerate Technologies to co-develop novel molecular-based rapid pathogen identification and detection diagnostics technology. Also higher was AngioDynamics (ANGO), which rose 18% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Myovant Sciences (MYOV), which slid 24% after it said that relugolix did not achieve statistical superiority for castration resistance-free survival compared to leuprolide acetate in men with metastatic disease through 48 weeks in the Phase 3 HERO study. Also lower was United Natural Foods (UNFI), which fell 12% after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 200.41, or 0.73%, to 27,383.65
, the Nasdaq was down 25.81, or 0.23%, to 11,091.72
, and the S&P 500 was down 19.67, or 0.59%, to 3,331.93