Market Brief: July 27, 2020

A daily summary of news, analysis and data shaping the market.
Market Brief
Monday, July 27, 2020
Tech Rally. U.S. stock benchmarks finished higher Monday, powered by a rally in technology and e-commerce shares ahead of earnings from biggies including Facebook, Apple, and in the coming week. Thus far, those companies have helped to lead the Nasdaq to fresh records and propelled the broader market higher because those companies have an outsize influence on the overall market by dint of their market capitalization. Large-cap technology and e-commerce companies have been viewed as more resilient to the Covid-19 pandemic that has crippled a host of industries, including many travel and retail companies. Tech’s rally also comes as investors drove gold prices to a fresh settlement record and an all-time intraday high near $2,000, amid concerns about the spread of the viral pandemic and central banks and governments doling out trillions to curtail the economic
harm from the pandemic. Against that backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 115 points, or 0.4%, higher at around 26,585, the S&P 500 index finished up 0.7% at about 3239, while the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 1.7% at around 10,536, and the Nasdaq-100, composed of the Nasdaq’s largest companies, closed up 1.8% at 10,674, FactSet data show. In economic news, a report on orders for durable goods, those lasting at least three years, climbed 7.3% in June, the government said on Monday. Wall Street economists had forecast on average a gain of 7%.
DJIA 26,584.77 114.88
S&P 500 3,239.41 23.78
NASDAQ 10,536.27 173.09
US 10-Year Note 0.61 0.02
Dollar Index 93.70 -0.74
Crude Oil 41.62 0.33
Gold 1,933.10 35.60
Global Dow 2,975.43 19.77
Powered by Dow Jones Research, FactSet, Eurostat, SIX Financial Information.
Under Armour Receives Enforcement Notice
Under Armour has received notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission—which has been investigating the athletic apparel maker’s accounting practices—about potential action against the company.

The SEC sent Under Armour a Wells Notice, which is a notification the agency provides a company when it plans to deliver an enforcement action against it. It reflects a preliminary determination, not a final or formal charge. Under Armour said its practices have been appropriate. It said it would pursue the Wells Notice and expects “to engage in a dialogue with the SEC staff to work toward a resolution of this matter.”

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Moderna Begins Phase 3 Covid Vaccine Study
The biotech company Moderna said Monday that it had dosed the first patient in the Phase 3 study of its Covid-19 vaccine.

The news came a day after the company said that the federal government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority had committed an additional $472 million to fund the trial, on top of the $483 million it gave the company in April.

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Walgreens CEO to Step Down
Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance traded lower on Monday after the pharmacy chain said CEO Stefano Pessina was stepping down. The board is currently conducting a search for his successor.

Pessina, who was formally named CEO in 2015, has been named executive chairman, and the former executive chairman James Skinner will step down from that role.

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Google to Keep Employees at Home Until at Least Next July
Alphabet’s Google has told its employees that it will extend its work-from-home order until at least July 2021 in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, making the internet search giant the first to push back its back-to-normal plans that far.

The move will affect nearly all of its roughly 200,000 employees across Google’s parent, Alphabet, the WSJ report said. Google had previously told its staff to expect to return to the offices as early as the beginning of January.

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Durable Goods Orders Climbed 7.3% in June, Driven by Demand for Cars and Parts
Surging demand for autos and auto parts pushed orders for durable goods higher in June as production continued to pick up from shutdowns, but business investment has a long way to go before normalizing.

New orders for manufactured durable goods, or items meant to last at least three years, climbed 7.3% last month from May, the Commerce Department said Monday. That followed a 15.1% rise in May and topped the 6.5% increase economists polled by FactSet predicted.

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BMW Is Preparing to Battle Tesla in the Luxury All-Electric Segment
BMW is opening up a new front in its battle with electric-vehicle maker Tesla, offering an all-electric 5-series sedan.

According to Reuters, which reported on BMW’s plans, the German car maker plans to have almost five million fully electric vehicles on the road in 10 years. That works out to about 500,000 new EVs sold each year between now and 2030. BMW wasn’t immediately available to comment on the report.

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Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods Join Walmart in Closing Stores on Thanksgiving Day
Some large retailers are planning to sit out the big Thanksgiving Day sales because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Target on Monday said it will not open stores on Thanksgiving Day this year following a similar decision by Walmart last week. Target said, “this isn’t a year for crowds.” Dick’s Sporting Goods also followed suit.

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Hasbro Sales Slump in the Second Quarter
Hasbro’s sales plummeted during the second quarter—a decline the company attributed to store closures and supply-chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sales came in at $860 million, down 29% from the pro-forma figure combining second-quarter 2019 revenues for Hasbro and eOne, the Canadian entertainment company Hasbro bought last year. Wall Street’s consensus estimate called for sales of $985.5 million. The company reported adjusted earnings of 2 cents a share. Wall Street analysts surveyed by FactSet expected an adjusted per-share profit of 22 cents.

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Albertsons Stock Is Falling Because Strong Earnings Weren’t Enough
Albertsons Cos. delivered an upbeat fiscal first-quarter report on Monday, but its stock was falling because investors may have been hoping for more from the supermarket operator, given that so many food retailers have gotten a boost during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Albertsons said it earned $586.2 million, or $1 per share, up from 8 cents per share a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.35 a share on revenue of $22.75 billion. Analysts were looking for EPS of $1.32 on revenue of $22.71 billion. Digital sales jumped 276% in the quarter, while same-store sales climbed 26.5%. But the company booked $615 million in costs related to the pandemic, including an additional $275 million for front-line workers’ pay, and it also saw some store closures and lower fuel sales.

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SAP Is Planning an IPO for Its Cloud-Software Qualtrics Unit
SAP announced plans late Sunday for an initial public offering for its Qualtrics experience-management software unit, while maintaining a majority stake.

SAP acquired Qualtrics for $8 billion in January 2019. It said in a statement that its primary objective for the IPO is “to fortify Qualtrics’ ability to capture its full market potential within experience management. This will help to increase Qualtrics’ autonomy and enable it to expand its footprint both within SAP’s customer base and beyond.”

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