Market Brief: July 22, 2020

A daily summary of news, analysis and data shaping the market.
Market Brief
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Dow Rises Back Above 27,000. U.S. stocks finished solidly higher Wednesday and the Dow booked the first close above 27,000 in more than six weeks, ahead of corporate results from Tesla and Microsoft. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 165 points, or 0.6%, to around 27,006, marking its first finish above the psychologically significant level of 27,000 since June 9, according to FactSet data. The S&P 500 index closed 0.6% higher at around 3276, while the Nasdaq Composite Index finished 0.2% higher at 10,706. Markets shook off simmering tensions between China and the U.S. to finish the day higher, with investors focusing on corporate results to indicate the degree to which some of the biggest companies in America have been able to contend with the Covid-19 crisis. After the close of regular trading, Microsoft reported better-than-expected results.
DJIA 27,005.84 165.44
S&P 500 3,276.02 18.72
NASDAQ 10,706.13 25.76
US 10-Year Note 0.60 -0.01
Dollar Index 94.95 -0.17
Crude Oil 41.83 -0.09
Gold 1,867.20 23.30
Global Dow 2,992.27 -1.16
Powered by Dow Jones Research, FactSet, Eurostat, SIX Financial Information.
Existing-Home Sales Leapt 21% in June. Expect More Gains.
The housing market is on fire, even as the broader U.S. economic recovery wobbles. Investors should expect further gains.

Sales of previously owned homes surged 21% in June from a month earlier, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. That’s a record pace as sales snapped a three-month stretch of declines as mortgage rates tumble.

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U.S. Shuts a Chinese Consulate. Why Investors Are Paying Attention to the Move.
The U.S. ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, citing spying concerns Wednesday, a move that Beijing called “outrageous and unprecedented.” The latest ratcheting up of U.S.-China tensions leaves investors trying to gauge whether the next round of tit for tat could hit large U.S. companies and warrant the market’s attention.

The closure of the consulate—an unusual and dramatic move—comes after the U.S. accused two hackers in China on Tuesday of targeting U.S. companies working on coronavirus research. In a tweet on Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio, acting chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, called the consulate a spy shop and a “central node of the Communist party’s vast network of spies and influence operations in the United States.”

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Pfizer Will Charge the U.S. $19.50 a Dose for Its Covid-19 Vaccine
The U.S. government has put in an order for enough doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine to inoculate nearly every American. It is paying a bit more than analysts expected.

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that the companies are selling 100 million doses of the vaccine to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense for $1.95 billion, a deal that prices each dose of the experimental vaccine at $19.50. The deal allows the U.S. government the option of buying an additional 500 million doses.

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Microsoft Reports Record Revenue to Wrap Up a Record-Breaking Fiscal Year
Microsoft Corp. wrapped up a record-breaking year Wednesday by announcing record quarterly revenue, but shares still shrank from near-record highs in after-hours trading.

Microsoft reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $11.2 billion, or $1.46 a share, on revenue of $38 billion Wednesday, after posting earnings of $1.71 a share on sales of $33.71 billion a year ago. Analysts on average expected profit of $1.34 a share on sales of $36.54 billion, according to FactSet.

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Slack Accuses Microsoft of Illegally Tying Teams to Office
Slack Technologies on Wednesday filed a complaint with the European Commission, asserting that Microsoft has engaged in illegal and anticompetitive competition in marketing its Teams communications tools.

Slack contends that Microsoft “has illegally tied its Teams product into its market-dominant Office productivity suite, force installing it for millions, blocking its removal, and hiding the true cost to enterprise customers.”

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Biogen Beats Earnings Expectations but Leaves CFO’s Departure a Mystery
The biotech firm Biogen announced second-quarter earnings Wednesday that beat Wall Street expectations, but the news came bundled with a mystery: Why did the company announce the departure of its chief financial officer on the evening before the earnings call?

In a 6 p.m. news release on Tuesday, Biogen said CFO Jeffrey Capello, who has been in the role since December 2017, would step down on Aug. 15. He will be replaced by Michael McDonnell, who is now chief financial officer of Iqvia. The news release didn’t offer a reason for Capello’s departure.

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Best Buy Stock Surges to All-Time Highs Because Company’s Online Sales Are Surging
Best Buy stock traded to its highest levels ever on Wednesday after the electronics retailer provided a rosy fiscal second-quarter update that showed a triple-digit jump in online sales.

Best Buy said its quarter-to-date sales through July 18 climbed 2.5% year over year, with domestic sales up 2% and international sales rising 8%. However, with store closures and consumer fears about the spread of coronavirus, e-commerce was the star of the show. Best Buy notched a 255% increase in digital sales, with computers, appliances, and tablets among the strongest product categories.

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Snap’s Earnings Include Warning for Investors
Snap executives issued a warning to investors late Tuesday, as the company said it expects its third-quarter sales growth rate to slow considerably.

The first of the large internet advertising powerhouses to report earnings, the company’s revenue beat wasn’t enough to overcome advertising growth slowing to 20% amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Snap’s earnings may give investors a clue about what to expect from rivals Alphabet, Facebook, and Twitter, which are all expected to report earnings in the coming weeks.

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Hydrogen Is the New Thing in Fuel. Just Look at Truck Makers’ Earnings.
The heavy-duty trucking giant Paccar reported good earnings, but the call to discuss the results was noteworthy for another reason. Hydrogen—the new fuel with a long history—came up again and again.

Hydrogen is the new, new thing for a few reasons. For starters, there is Nikola, the alternative-fuel trucking startup. Its market value has rocketed from less than $1 billion at the start of the year to more than $14 billion. Nikola plans to power heavy-duty trucks with hydrogen-powered fuel cells.

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Jamf Stock Is Popping as Expanded IPO Hits the Nasdaq
The initial public offering of Jamf surged nearly 90% in its market debut Wednesday, making the cloud software company’s IPO the latest to produce a strong first day.

Shares of Jamf opened on the Nasdaq at $46 a share. The stock was at $46.49 in midmorning trade, leaving it $20.49 above the IPO price. The positive showing comes after Jamf raised $468 million late Tuesday.

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