Plus, ConocoPhillips is buying Concho Resources, AMC shares are up after New York Gov. Cuomo says movie theaters in the state can reopen, and an analyst issued a prediction for presales for Apple’s new iPhone 12.
Stocks were lower to start Monday with the Dow dropping 41 points, or 0.1%. The S&P 500 slid 0.2%, while the Nasdaq traded 0.1% lower.
48 hours. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set a Tuesday deadline for more progress with the White House on a stimulus deal in order to get it done before the November 3 election. “The 48 only relates to if we want to get it done before the election, which we do,” Pelosi said on Sunday. “We’re saying to them, we have to freeze the design on some of these things – are we going with it or not and what is the language? I’m optimistic, because again we’ve been back and forth on all this.” President Donald Trump said over the weekend that he was prepared to go higher than the $1.8 trillion his team offered Pelosi, even as Democrats favor a $2.2 trillion plan and Senate Republicans rebuff anything above $500 billion. “I want a bigger number” than Pelosi, Trump said to reporters in Reno, Nevada on Sunday. “That doesn’t mean all the Republicans agree with me, but I think they will in the end.” While a pre-election stimulus deal remains possible, Pelosi also said that what’s still at issue is wording “on the design on some of these things” that remain unresolved in the bill. “Instead of recognizing the need for a strategic plan, they have changed words including ‘shall’ to may,’ ‘requirement’ to ‘recommendation,’ and ‘strategic plan to strategy,’” Pelosi what in a letter to House Democrats. “These changes make the funding a slush fund for the Administration which ‘may’ grant or withhold rather than a prescribed, funded plan to crush the virus.”
Cases of the coronavirus have surpassed 8.15 million in the U.S. and 40.1 million globally as Europe and the U.S. struggle to deal with an alarming surge in infections. In the U.S., coronavirus hospitalizations are growing in 37 states, with Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and West Virginia all hitting record highs in the average of hospitalizations. “What’s concerning here is that it’s only mid-October and there is a long fall and winter” ahead of us, said Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the University of Toronto. “We are clearly in the second wave in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere and we really need to have more control of this infection at the community level. We know exactly what it’s like when health-care systems are spread beyond capacity. We saw that in New York City. We saw that in Houston. We saw that in many other parts of the United States.”
ConocoPhillips is buying shale oil producer Concho Resources for $9.7 billion. The low-premium, all-stock deal comes as many U.S. shale companies have been mired in losses due to weak crude prices and, unlike in past downturns, have struggled to raise new capital to restructure heavy debts. The purchase could propel ConocoPhillips into the ranks of the top producers in the Permian Basin, the U.S. oil field that stretches from West Texas to southeastern New Mexico. “Concho has been on the short list of big Permian companies attracting interest due to its large production, vast acreage and relatively low debt,” said Andrew Dittmar, M&A analyst at consultancy Enverus. Concho CEO Tim Leach said, “Evaluating the go-forward size and scale really becomes more and more important. The ‘why now’ is that we have common vision on this, and creating a company that can attract capital and be a leader in that regard is the compelling reason why we wanted to move now.”
AMC shares are up more than 21% this morning after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced movie theaters could start to reopen in the state on October 23. The reopening excludes theaters in New York City, however, “The news from Governor Cuomo on Saturday was a monumental step forward for the cinema industry,” said AMC CEO Adam Aron. “AMC has been able to open our theaters across the country,” Aron added. “Now that we can open in New York, New York state first, but that means New York City is right behind. That also means that the Christmas movies are going to hold. Like the airline industry, we’re doing a fraction of what we did a year ago, but the question is not what we we’re doing yesterday, it’s what will we be doing over the next three, six, nine months. I think finally with New York open, we can say our future is bright again.”
And Apple sold more iPhone 12 models in the first 24 hours of preorders last week than iPhone 11 models sold in the same period last year. That’s according to top Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo of TF International Securities. Kuo said in a note out this morning that Apple sold up to 2 million iPhone 12 units in the first 24 hours of resales, up from 800,000 units of the iPhone 11. However, Kuo also predicted that for the full weekend of preorders, which ended Sunday, Apple would sell up to 9 million iPhone 12 units, down from iPhone 11’s 12 million preorders in the same period thanks to stronger than expected demand in China last year. Many Apple analysts are predicting a “super cycle” of iPhone sales for the company’s fiscal 2021, which began in October, thanks to a larger-than-normal customer base due for an upgrade as well as the addition of 5G capabilities.
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ASLAN Pharmaceuticals Ltd (NASDAQ: ASLN): ASLAN Pharmaceuticals shares gained as much as 29% on Friday after the clinical-stage biopharma company announced it plans to develop ASLAN003, its next-generation inhibitor of dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), in autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS). “Following our review of the data we have generated on ASLAN003 and discussions with experts in the field, we believe ASLAN003 has a potential best in class profile as the most potent oral DHODH inhibitor targeting autoimmune indications,” said Dr. Carl Firth, CEO of ASLAN, in a statement. “There is a current need for a differentiated therapeutic approach to MS that can deliver improved efficacy and addresses the risks of toxicity associated with this and other classes of drug in the field.”