Stocks were little changed at the open on Monday with the Dow trading just below the flatline. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both added less than 0.1%.
Lordstown Motors shares are down nearly 19% at the time of writing after CEO and chairman Steve Burns and CFO Julio Rodriguez resigned their posts just days after the company warned that it had “substantial doubt” about its ability to continue as a going concern in the next year. The electric truck maker also said a probe into a critical Hindenburg Research report from last fall found that the company had made misstatements about its vehicle preorders. Angela Strand, Lordstown’s lead independent director, will take over as interim CEO and “will oversee the organization’s transition until a permanent CEO is identified,” the company said. R.F. Lafferty analyst Jamie Perez downgraded the stock from Hold to Sell this morning following the news and reduced his price target from $6 to $3. “With the level of uncertainty increasing in the future of Lordstown, we find it prudent to lower our rating,” Perez wrote.
Bitcoin has jumped more than 13% today to $40,671.94 at the time of writing. The move comes after Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted the electric vehicle maker would again allow transactions in Bitcoin once mining is done with 50% clean energy. “This latest tweet only confirms what a crazy relationship Musk has with Bitcoin and his incredible influence on prices,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com. Also boosting Bitcoin this morning is an endorsement from Paul Tudor Jones. “I like Bitcoin as a portfolio diversifier,” Tudor Jones did. “Everybody asks me what should I do with my Bitcoin? The only thing I know for certain, I want 5% in gold, 5% in Bitcoin, 5% in cash, 5% in commodities.”
Novavax said its COVID-19 vaccine was shown to be 90.4% effective overall in a phase three clinical trial of nearly 30,000 participants across the U.S. and Mexico. The company also said the vaccine was 100% effective at preventing moderate and severe disease, and 93% effective against some variants of the coronavirus. The trial “confirms that NVX-CoV2373 offers an encouraging tolerability and safety profile,” said Dr. Gregory Glenn, Novavax’s president of research and development. “These data show consistent, high levels of efficacy and reaffirm the ability of the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 amid ongoing genetic evolution of the virus.” The company plans to file for authorization with the FDA in the third quarter.
American Express is launching its first checking account for small businesses by leaning on technology it acquired last year with its acquisition of online lender Kabbage. AmEx’s new Kabbage Checking product is a no-fee digital account that pays 1.1% interest on up to $100,000 in balances, and includes mobile check deposits, a debit card, bill pay and targeted savings features, and access to a network of ATMs and retail locations for cash transactions. “The checking account is sort of the financial operating system for a business, it’s one of the first things a business gets,” Kathryn Petralia, co-founder of Kabbage, said. “With the record number of new businesses being created last year, we think it’s important to help them get products that a brand new business wouldn’t be able to get from a traditional institution.”
And Qualcomm said it is open to the idea of investing in U.K. chip designer Arm if the company’s $40 billion sale to Nvidia is blocked by regulators. “If Arm has an independent future, I think you will find there is a lot of interest from a lot of the companies within the ecosystem, including Qualcomm, to invest in Arm,” Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon said. “If it moves out of SoftBank and it goes into a process of becoming a publicly-traded company, [with] a consortium of companies that invest, including many of its customers, I think those are great possibilities.”
Stocks We’re Watching
Precigen Inc (NASDAQ: PGEN): Precigen shares jumped nearly 25% on Friday after the biotech announced positive topline results for the ongoing Phase 1b/2a clinical study investigating AG019 ActoBiotics for he treatment of recent-onset type 1 diabetes (T1D). “We are encouraged by the Phase 1b/2a primary analysis results and the implications for the potential of AG019 as an easy-to-take oral monotherapy or combination therapy with teplizumab. The stabilization of C-peptide levels and induced antigen-specific tolerance in conjunction with the reduction of disease-specific T cell response suggest the ability of AG019 to modulate a patient’s immune system in a precise, antigen-specific manner to address the underlying cause of T1D,” Pieter Rottiers, PhD, CEO of Precigen ActoBio, said in a press release. “We are excited about advancing AG019 to assess the efficacy of prolonged treatment of oral AG019.”