Stocks were higher to begin Friday’s shortened session with the Dow adding 122 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 rose 0.3%, while the Nasdaq gained 0.7%.
It’s Black Friday. While today may not have as much importance this year given that many retailers started their holiday season far earlier than usual amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there are still plenty of deals to be had. Cowen analyst Oliver Chen said big box retailers Target and Walmart will be big winners today, along with Coach-owner Tapestry and American Eagle Outfitters, as all four retailers benefit from omnichannel platforms and curbside pickup. Chen also said Target and Walmart could get “more than typical allocation” of hot-ticket electronics this Black Friday given their outperformance in the category so far this year. Truist analyst Youssef Squali highlighted Amazon and said that a “blockbuster holiday season” bolsters his bullish case for the stock. Squali wrote that Amazon could claim $0.42 of every $1 spent in North America this holiday season, adding that Amazon’s “strength is driven by 1) its extensive product selection, 2) best in class customer experience, including 1-day delivery launched a year ago, 3) competitive prices, and 4) Prime Day, which this year was moved to the fourth quarter from the third.”
President Donald Trump said he will leave the White House if the Electoral College affirms Democrat Joe Biden’s win in Thanksgiving Day comments to reporters following a teleconference with members of the military, though signaled he may never formally concede defeat and may not attend the President-elect’s inauguration in January. The Electoral College electors in each state are poised to vote on December 14, with certificates recording the electoral vote results in each state due to the president of the Senate no later than December 23. Biden is certified as the winner, or leading, in states totaling 306 electoral votes, well above the victory threshold of 270. Trump and his legal team continue to put out allegations of widespread voter fraud but have so far provided little or no evidence to back up the claims, and Trump made reference to state-level lawmakers, hinting that he still might urge state legislatures to reject the results entirely and appoint their own electors to flip states to vote for him.
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot confirmed Thursday that it will likely run an additional global trail to evaluate the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine following confusion about the results of its trial and the true efficacy of its vaccine candidate. The company wants the new test to confirm the 90% efficacy rate that the shot showed in a portion of the existing trial following its acknowledgement that a lower dosage level that appeared more effective resulted from a manufacturing discrepancy. AstraZeneca and its partner, the University of Oxford, didn’t initially disclose the error as well as other key details, leading to concern over their transparency. “Now that we’ve found what looks like a better efficacy we have to validate this, so we need to do an additional study,” Soriot said, adding that the new test will likely be another “international study, but this one could be faster because we know the efficacy is high so we need a smaller number of patients.”
Sage Therapeutics opened higher this morning after management announced a deal with Biogen on its depression and movement-disorder treatments. “We are excited about the potential to bring together Biogen’s leading capabilities in neuroscience with Sage’s deep expertise in psychiatry,” said Michel Vounatsos, Biogen’s Chief Executive Officer. “Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17 million people in the U.S. alone, and is a common co-morbidity of multiple neurological disorders in Biogen’s core therapeutic areas. There is a tremendous unmet medical need in depression, and we are optimistic about the potential for zuranolone to help transform the treatment of depression and address the stigma often associated with chronic use of antidepressants.”
And bitcoin has plunged nearly $3,000 in less than 24 hours after hitting highs not seen since December 2017. The price of the cryptocurrency was trading at $19,374 on Wednesday when it began its slide, and is now trading at $16,734. The tumble comes as many predicted the digital coin would soon hit an all-time high of $20,000, though Antoni Trenchev, managing partner and co-founder of crypto lender Nexo, said he still expects bitcoin will rally well beyond the $20,000 milestone. “Long term, I don’t see anything derailing Bitcoin’s irrevocable rise higher,” Trenchev said. “That doesn’t mean we won’t have pullbacks along the way. Look what happened in March; Bitcoin plunged 40% in one day during the coronavirus market panic. 20-30% falls can and should be expected. Any healthy market needs to have pullbacks and periods of consolidation. Already in 2020 we’ve seen gain of 160%.”
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Columbia Care Inc (OTC: CCHWF): Columbia Care announced Tuesday that it has been named to Crain’s New York Business Fast 50, the publication’s annual list of New York City’s fastest-growing companies. “I am honored that Crain’s has recognized Columbia Care as one of the fastest-growing companies in New York,” said Nicholas Vita, CEO of Columbia Care. “We have experienced unparalleled growth over the past year, which we credit to both our continued commitment to customer satisfaction and dedication to developing innovative products and services that create the best possible experience for our customers. We have seen an increasingly positive shift in cannabis sentiment, as proven by the recent waves of legalization in several states. Columbia Care will continue to expand and meet the needs of both local New Yorkers, as well as our customers across the country.”