BY THE NUMBERS
U.S. stock futures bounced Friday after the Dow and S&P 500 posted their fourth straight session of losses. The Nasdaq on Thursday saw its second down day in a row. All three stock benchmarks were tracking for negative weeks, as concern persisted on Wall Street about the Covid-19 delta variant’s impact on the economic reopening. As of Thursday’s close, the Dow was 2% away from last month’s record close. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were nearly 1% shy of their latest record closes earlier this month. (CNBC)
Investors are also wondering how headwinds for the economy and rising inflation might play into the Federal Reserve’s decision on when to start tapering Covid-era bond purchases. The government said Friday its August producer price index rose 0.7%, a bit more than estimates, after a 1% jump in July. The ex-food and energy core rate increased 0.6%, matching expectations. On an annual basis, the index rose 8.3% for its biggest advance on record. (CNBC)
Extraordinarily high levels of home equity, thanks to the recent runup in home prices, have struggling borrowers in a far better position now than they were at the start of the pandemic. The number of active mortgage forbearance plans, in which borrowers were allowed to delay their monthly payments for 18 months, fell by more than 5% from the previous week, according to a new report from analytics firm Black Knight. (CNBC)
IN THE NEWS TODAY
An exasperated President Joe Biden outlined a broad plan Thursday to boost Covid vaccination rates in the U.S., pressuring private employers to immunize their workforces as well as mandating shots for federal employees, contractors and health-care workers. (CNBC)
The president’s moves were supported by the American Medical Association, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable. However, the Republican National Committee intends to sue the Biden administration over the mandate. (AP & Reuters)
Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke Friday for the first time since February, as tensions between the world’s two largest economies simmer. A White House readout of the call said “the two leaders discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.” Chinese state media said Xi spoke of conditional opportunities for cooperation. (CNBC)
The Justice Department is suing Texas over the state’s restrictive new abortion law, saying the legislature there enacted the statute “in open defiance of the Constitution.” The lawsuit comes after the Supreme Court, stacked 6-3 with conservative justices, last week refused to block the Texas abortion law, which bans almost all abortions after as early as six weeks of pregnancy. (CNBC)
Fed regional presidents Robert Kaplan and Eric Rosengren said they will sell their individual stock holdings as questions swirled regarding their trading in 2020. The Fed officials will sell all their stocks by the end of the month. They will put the proceeds in passive investments. Kaplan and Rosengren also pledged to not trade stocks while serving as Fed presidents. (CNBC)
Tinder chief Jim Lanzone will be the new CEO of Yahoo, according to a company memo obtained by CNBC on Friday. CNBC reported last month that Guru Gowrappan was uncertain of his future job status at Yahoo as private equity firm Apollo Global Management (APO) closed its transaction of Yahoo, previously known as Verizon Media, on Sept. 1.
Walmart (WMT) will end quarterly bonuses as it raises hourly wages for store employees and other workers. A company spokeswoman confirmed the big-box retailer is eliminating the additional pay on Jan. 31, 2022, and rolling it into its workers’ base pay. The bonuses, dispersed four times per year, have been paid out for decades. (CNBC)
STOCKS TO WATCH
Affirm Holdings (AFRM) soared over 20% in the premarket as the “buy now, pay later” company’s revenue easily topped estimates. Active merchant numbers more than quintupled and Affirm issued a positive outlook as well.
Toyota Motor (TM) cut its annual production target by 300,000 vehicles as factories in Vietnam and Malaysia were hit by the spread of Covid-19 and the ongoing computer chip shortage. Toyota gained 1% in the premarket.
Endo International (ENDP) surged 19% in premarket action after it agreed to pay $50 million to resolve lawsuits by New York State and two counties over the drug maker’s sale and marketing of opioids.
Bausch Health (BHC) will pay $300 million to settle an antitrust lawsuit involving the company’s diabetes drug Glumetza. Bausch had been accused of illegally maintaining a monopoly on the treatment, with the price increasing nearly 800% in 2015.
Wells Fargo (WFC) was fined $250 million by regulators who said the bank has not made sufficient progress in solving ongoing issues in its mortgage business. Regulators had first identified those issues in a 2018 order. Wells Fargo shares added 2% in the premarket.
Nielsen Holdings (NLSN) CEO David Kenny defended the ratings company in a letter to TV industry executives and said Nielsen does need to move faster in adjusting its ratings systems to capture the consumer shift from traditional viewing to streaming. Nielsen shares rose 1.3% in the premarket.
Dave & Buster’s (PLAY) rallied roughly 8% in premarket trading after it reported quarterly earnings of $1.07 per share, well above the 58-cent consensus estimate. The restaurant and arcade chain’s revenue beat Wall Street forecasts and Dave & Buster’s said it continues to see signs of recovery in its business. It expects that to continue, barring any significant Covid-related downturn.
American Outdoor Brands (AOUT) earned an adjusted 48 cents per share for its fiscal first quarter, 8 cents above estimates. The maker of outdoor recreational products got a boost from increased profit margins and higher sales in both domestic and international markets. It projects full-year earnings of $2.02 to $2.26 compared with a $2.24 consensus estimate. Shares slid 5.4% in the premarket.
Zumiez (ZUMZ) beat estimates by 23 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.02 per share, but revenue fell short of the consensus view. The maker of streetwear and action sports apparel did not provide an outlook, due to volatile market conditions, and shares fell 5.3% in premarket trading.
Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) is delaying new versions of its “Grand Theft Auto” video game by four months, saying it wants additional time to “further polish” the final products. Take-Two maintained its prior full-year outlook and shares fell 1.9% in the premarket.
The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Dallas Cowboys 31-29 in the NFL’s season opener last night. Bucs’ Tom Brady threw for 379 yards and four touchdowns. With seats in a NFL stadium filled to capacity for the first time since the start of the pandemic, kicker Ryan Succop won it with a 36-yard field goal with two seconds remaining. (AP)