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Initial Jobless Claims Drop Below 1 Million For First Time Since March

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Plus, Novavax signed a deal with SK Bioscience to manufacture the antigen component of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Apple is reportedly preparing bundles of its digital services, and Tapestry shares are down after reporting earnings.

Stocks were mixed to start Thursday with the Dow slipping 75 points lower, or 0.3%. The S&P fell 0.2%, while the Nasdaq was 0.3% higher.


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Below 1 million. The Labor Department reported initial jobless claims fell to 963,000 for the week ended August 8, the lowest reading since March 21, while continuing claims totaled 15.5 million, a decrease of 604,000 from the week prior. “The labor market continues to improve, but unemployment remains a huge problem for the U.S. economy,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services. “The number of people filing for unemployment insurance, both regular and PUA benefits, continues to steadily decline as layoffs abate. But job losses remain extremely elevated, far above their pre-pandemic level.” Ryan Sweet, head of monetary policy research at Moody’s Analytics, said, “It’s clear that the pace of layoffs is beginning to moderate, but it’s still an enormous number of people filing for unemployment insurance benefits. One concern for both the job market and the broader economy is the lack of urgency in passing another round of fiscal stimulus. The economy needs more fiscal stimulus.”

Speaking of stimulus, Democrats and Republicans are at least $1 trillion apart on another package of relief the U.S. economy needs to overcome the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic. A call between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin yesterday, their first since last Friday, moved the two sides no closer to cracking the stalemate between them, with Pelosi saying the two sides are “miles apart.” Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., told reporters that Mnuchin said on a call with GOP senators that there was “not much new movement” in negotiations, and Blunt suggested that it could take until September 30, the deadline to fund the government, to pass more pandemic relief. Pelosi said Wednesday that aid for state and local governments and payments to jobless Americans are two of the most intractable issues at stake in the negotiations, and said in a subsequent letter to House Democrats that while the House’s plan passed in May had included $60 billion for food assistance, the GOP proposal includes just $250,000, and while the Democratic plan had $100 billion for rental and mortgage assistance, while Republicans has no funds for housing aid.

Novavax shares are up more than 9% this morning after the company said it has a deal with SK Bioscience to manufacture the antigen component of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. “We are proud to partner with SK Bioscience to fulfill our commitment to ensure global supply of NVX-CoV2373 in alignment with our partnership with CEPI,” said Novavax CEO Stanley C. Erck in a news release. “SK Bioscience shares our sense of urgency to ensure broad and equitable access for our COVID-19 vaccine candidate around the world.” The two companies have also signed a letter of intent with South Korea’s government to “work toward broad and equitable access to NVX-CoV2373 for the global market as well as to make the vaccine available in South Korea.”

Apple is preparing a series of bundles that will let customers subscribe to several of its digital services at a lower monthly price, according to a report from Bloomberg. The “Apple One” bundles are expected to launch in October alongside the newest iPhone line releases, and are designed to encourage customers to subscribe to more Apple services, generating more recurring revenue. According to the report, Apple plans to package services like Apple TV+, Apple Music, Apple News+, Apple Arcade, and iCloud storage, services that typically cost between $4.99 and $9.99 per month, into different plans that provide consumers a discount for packaging everything together. The new bundles would come in different tiers, including one that offers everything and others that bundle some services but not others, and one may reportedly include a new workout class subscription. 

Tapestry shares are down 2% this morning after the Coach and Kate Spade owner reported a narrower-than-expected loss as investors remain cautious that sales of handbags and other accessories will struggle to rebound anytime soon. Tapestry reported losses per share of $0.25 on revenue of $714.8 million, compared to analysts expectations for a loss of $0.57 per share on revenue of $663 million. “Thanks to dramatic changes in patterns of work and socializing, it suggests that it could be quite some time before buying levels return to pre-pandemic levels,” said GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders. “Coach is the prime example of this as, from our data, around 67% of its sales were driven by some form of external event whether that be work, going out, or specific events and occasions.”

Stocks We’re Watching

Cambium Networks Corp (NASDAQ: CMBM): Cambium Networks shares gained nearly 11% yesterday after wireless networking infrastructure solutions provider reported second quarter financial results, posting earnings per share of $0.13 on revenue of $62.3 million. “Wireless broadband connectivity is vital and essential infrastructure for people around the world and is a lifeline for most communities,” said Atul Bhatnagar, president and CEO. “There is an increased secular need for fixed wireless broadband infrastructure. We are at the start of a new upgrade cycle to gigabit wireless solutions including our 60 GHz millimeter wave, CBRS solutions and emerging 5G products, and cloud powered enterprise Wi-Fi 6.”

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