Plus, the coronavirus now has more than 20,000 confirmed cases globally, and Alphabet shares are lower after the Google parent reported lower-than-expected revenues.
Stocks rallied to start Tuesday with the Dow adding 450 points, or 1.4%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both gained 1.2%.
Confirmed coronavirus cases have surged to 20,900 globally while total deaths have risen to 429 as of Tuesday morning. According to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, the “export boom” from the phase one U.S. – China trade deal will be delayed due to the outbreak, though he also noted that the Trump administration still projects “minimal impact” from the rapidly-spreading virus. Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, has asked casino operators to suspend operations for two weeks to help curb the spread of the virus, and American Airlines has suspended its service to Hong Kong to and from Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles through February 20 as demand drops as the outbreak spreads.
The Iowa presidential caucus fell into chaos after the Democratic Party said technology introduced to help make the process more transparent produced results with “inconsistencies.” The party said this morning that it would release the results today after “manually verifying all precinct results.” “We determined with certainty that the underlying data collected via the app was sound,” said party chairman Troy Price in a statement. “While the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data. We have determined that this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system. This issue was identified and fixed.” Despite no official results having been published yet, Pete Buttigieg declared victory early this morning, while Bernie Sanders’ campaign released a ranking that showed the senator coming in first place.
Tesla shares are up more than 12% today after rising 19.9% on Monday, its biggest one-day gain in six years, surging above $900 in early trading this morning. Major shareholder Ron Baron said yesterday that the electric vehicle maker will top $1 trillion in revenue in a decade, while ARK Invest—Tesla’s biggest bull—forecast that shares will be worth $7,000 by 2024, 737% higher than the price as of this writing. However, while the mania has nearly doubled the stock so far this year, New Street Research analyst Pierre Ferragu wrote in a downgrade note that now is the time to “take partial profits and buy on next weakness.” “We see 2020 playing out fine, but it is largely expected, and we see some risks on the stock: end of the short squeeze, 1Q20 miss on gross margins, Model Y launch disrupting Model 3 momentum,” Ferragu wrote. The New Street analyst lowered his rating for Tesla from Buy to Neutral, and reaffirmed his $800 price target.
Shares of Google-parent Alphabet are down nearly -4% this morning after the tech giant reported better-than-expected Q4 profits, but lower-than-expected revenues after the bell yesterday. Alphabet posted of revenue gain of 17.3% to $46.1 billion, but below consensus estimates of $46.9 billion. “Our investments in deep computer science, including artificial intelligence, ambient computing and cloud computing, provide a strong base for continued growth and new opportunities across Alphabet,” said CEO Sundar Pichai in a statement. “I’m really pleased with our continued progress in Search and in building two of our newer growth ares – YouTube, already at $15 billion in annual ad revenue, and Cloud, which is now on a $10 billion revenue run rate.”
In other earnings news, Ralph Lauren shares are up 10% this morning, jumping the most in three months, after it reported sales globally and in North America that topped estimates. Same-store sales increased 2% worldwide in RL’s fiscal Q3, more than twice the average forecast for 0.8%. “We feel like we’re on track and we feel good about the game plan that we have,” said CEO Patrice Louvet, adding the that “the economic environment continues to be pretty volatile.” And BP shares are up 4% today as the oil giant reported profits fell less than expected and that outgoing CEO Bob Dudley had hiked shareholder payouts on his way out the door. BP reported full-year profit of $10 billion, down 21% from 2018, while Q4 profit fell to $2.6 billion but above the $2.1 billion analysts had forecast. “BP is performing well, with safe and reliable operations, continued strategic progress and strong cash delivery,” Dudley said. “This all supports our commitment to growing distributions to shareholders over the long term and the dividend rise we announced today.” Up next, Ford and Disney will report earnings after the bell this evening.
Stocks We’re Watching
Anavex Life Sciences (NASDAQ: AVXL): Shares of this clinical-stage biopharmaceuticals stock jumped as much as 18% yesterday after it announced that the FDA had granted a Fast Track designation for ANAVEX 2.73 for the treatment of the genetic brain disorder Rett syndrome. “With no currently approved agents to treat Rett syndrome, patients and their physicians have an urgent need for new therapeutic options,” said Anavex President and CEO Christopher U. Missling, PhD. “We view this FDA Fast Track designation as continued support that ANAVEX 2-73 (blarcamesine) has the potential to address this unmet need. Importantly, Fast Track designation provides a number of important advantages that could expedite the development and review of ANAVEX 2-73.”
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