Airlines Shares Jump As TSA Reports Busiest Weekend Since Pre-Pandemic

Plus, Moderna asked for full approval from the FDA for its COVID-19 vaccine, AMC raised $230 million via a stock sale to Mudrick Capital, and Cloudera is going private.

Stocks were higher at the open on Tuesday with the Dow adding 55 points, or nearly 0.2%. The S&P 500 rose by 0.3%, while the Nasdaq gained 0.6%.

Airline stocks are higher this morning after the TSA said air travel was at is highest level since the pandemic began during the Memorial Day weekend. The TSA said it screened an average of 1.78 million people from Friday through Monday, hitting a peak of 1.96 million on Friday. While the numbers are still 22% below Memorial Day weekend in 2019, the volumes are six times higher than a year ago. American Airlines shares are up 2.45%, United Airlines is up 2.4%, and budget carriers Allegiant, Frontier, and Spirit are all up around 3%. Hilton also said it notched a record-breaking number of bookings on Saturday. “We had a blockbuster weekend,” said CEO Christopher Nassetta. “On Saturday night we were, across the U.S., almost 93% occupied, which is certainly the best since COVID hit. Our bookings for this summer at this point are higher than we saw in 2019 at the peak. People are getting out, they are feeling safer as vaccination rates go up and it should be a really good summer for travel.”

Moderna has asked the FDA for full approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, making it the second drugmaker to seek a biologics license in the U.S.—after Pfizer—that will allow it to market the shot to consumers directly. “We are pleased to announce this important step in the U.S. regulatory process for a Biologics License Application (BLA) of our COVID-19 vaccine,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the FDA and will continue to submit data from our Phase 3 study and complete the rolling submission.”

Johnson & Johnson shares are down nearly 2% this morning after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from the company seeking to undo a $2.1 billion award against it over allegations that asbestos in its talc powder products, including baby powder, resulted in women developing ovarian cancer. “The decision by the court to not review the case leaves unresolved significant legal questions that state and federal courts will continue to face” in future talc cases, said Kim Montagnino, a J&J spokeswoman, in a statement. “The Supreme Court has many times said its decision to deny hearing a case expresses no view on the merits.” Mark Lanier, a lawyer for the accusers, said, “Today justice is served. Twenty families now get compensated for a horrible, unnecessary disease. And J&J, the trigger for that disease, is held accountable.”

AMC shares are up 16% at the time of writing after raising $230.5 million with a stock sale to Mudrick Capital Management as the movie theater chain pledged to “go on offense” with acquisitions. The agreement with Mudrick is for 8.5 million shares of common stock at $27.12 per share, and AMC said it plans to use the cash proceeds from the sale for acquisitions of additional theater leases and improvements to its existing theaters. “Given that AMC is raising hundreds of millions of dollars, this is an extremely positive result for our shareholders,” CEO and President Adam Aron said in a filing. “It was achieved through the issuance of only 8.5 million shares, representing less than 1.7% of our issued share capital and only a small portion of our typical daily trading volume.”

And Cloudera shares have jumped 24% today after news broke that private equity firms KKR and Clayton Dubilier & Rice will take the cloud-based data analytics company private for $5.3 billion. Cloudera’s board unanimously approved the deal, which will also be subject to shareholder approval. Investor Carl Icahn, who controls a roughly 18% stake in the company, said he will support the transaction. The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year, and includes a 30-day “go-shop” period, which allows the company to consider alternative offers. This transaction provides substantial and certain value to our shareholders while also accelerating Cloudera’s long-term path to hybrid cloud leadership for analytics that span the complete data lifecycle – from the Edge to AI,” Cloudera CEO Rob Bearden said in a statement. “We believe that as a private company with the expertise and support of experienced investors such as CD&R and KKR, Cloudera will have the resources and flexibility to drive product-led growth and expand our addressable market opportunity.”

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Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ: ULTA): Ulta shares rose as much as 7% on Friday after the cosmetics retailer reported fiscal first quarter earnings. The company posted a 65% year-over-year increase in net sales to $1.9 billion. “The Ulta Beauty team delivered an outstanding start to the year, with sales and earnings exceeding fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019 first quarter levels,” CEO Mary Dillon said in the earnings release. “I want to thank all our associates for their continued efforts to deliver great experiences and support our business in an environment that continues to be very dynamic.”