Stocks Fall But Remain on Track for Monthly Gains – Wall Street Journal, 4/30/2021
- U.S. stocks edged lower Friday, but remained on track for monthly gains after a streak of strong earnings.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 184 points, or 0.5%, to 33876 shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 lost 0.6%, though it stayed on track to notch its biggest monthly gain since November. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.7%.
- Shares in Twitter fell 14% after the social media company warned that user growth could cool in the coming quarters.
- Amazon.com rose 1% after it reported record quarterly profit as demand remained strong for its deliveries, cloud-computing and advertising businesses.
- In bond markets, optimism about U.S. growth prospects—stemming from better-than-expected corporate earnings, signs of the labor market’s recovery, and President Biden’s new $1.8 trillion spending proposal—have encouraged money managers to sell government bonds, considered the safest assets. There are also growing concerns that inflation could curtail the returns from fixed-income securities, and from stocks that are richly valued for their future cash flow.
- The yield on the 10-year Treasury note ticked up to 1.642%, from 1.639% Thursday. Yields rise when prices fall.
- Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 edged 0.1% lower. Shares of British bank Barclays fell 5% as an unexpected rise in costs clouded the bank’s quarterly earnings.
- Most major indexes in Asia declined. New economic data from China weighed on sentiment, with official gauges for manufacturing falling short of expectations in April.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed almost 2%. The Shanghai Composite Index, South Korea’s Kospi and Japan’s Nikkei 225 each fell 0.8%.
Covid-19 Live Updates: 30% of Americans Fully Vaccinated – Wall Street Journal, 4/30/2021
- Newly reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose slightly, while vaccination efforts made further gains, with 30% of the country’s population now fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
- The U.S. reported 58,199 new cases for Thursday, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Thursday’s figure was up from Wednesday’s total of 55,125, but marked the sixth consecutive day of new cases below the 60,000 mark. Not all states report data on new cases daily.
- Hospitalizations remain above 40,000, with the latest data posted by the Department of Health and Human Services showing 43,049 Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the U.S.
- The country reported 854 Covid-19 fatalities for Thursday, bringing the total death toll to nearly 575,200, according to Johns Hopkins data.
- Vaccination efforts continued to make progress. The U.S. administered an average of 2.6 million doses a day over the past week, a slightly slower pace than in recent days. Even so, 30% of the total population of the U.S. is now fully vaccinated, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that businesses will fully reopen starting July 1. Restaurants, stores, movie theaters, event venues and other businesses will be allowed to operate at full capacity by that date, the mayor said in an interview on MSNBC, crediting the city’s vaccination efforts as the reason for the removal of restrictions.
Amazon’s Profit Run Continues, Bolstered by Sustained Demand – Wall Street Journal, 4/30/2021
- Amazon.com reported record quarterly profit as demand remained robust for its deliveries, cloud-computing and advertising businesses, capping a blockbuster earnings season for the world’s largest technology companies.
- Net income from January to March more than tripled to $8.1 billion, and revenue of $108 billion far exceeded the average of analyst predictions on FactSet.
- Sales for the cloud unit totaled $13.5 billion in the first quarter, a 32% increase from the same period a year ago.
- Amazon’s category that includes ad sales rose 77% in the first quarter from a year ago to $6.9 billion.
- Amazon said it expects sales from April to June to reach between $110 billion and $116 billion, which would mark three consecutive quarters with more than $100 billion in revenue.
Twitter breaks tech’s blockbuster streak, shares fall on tepid outlook – Reuters, 4/30/2021
- Twitter shares sank 11% in post-market trading on Thursday as it offered tepid revenue guidance for the second quarter, warned of rising costs and expenses and said user growth could slow as the boost seen during the coronavirus pandemic fizzles.
- Total revenue for the quarter was $1.04 billion, up 28% year-over-year and slightly higher than estimates of $1.03 billion.
- Ad revenue for the first quarter were $899 million, up 32% from the same period a year ago and beating analyst estimates of $890 million.
- Twitter reported 199 million daily active users, up 20% year-over-year, compared to analysts’ estimates of 200 million, according to FactSet data.
- It said it expected second quarter revenue between $980 million and $1.08 billion, lower than Wall Street estimates of $1.06 billion on average, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
- It also said stock based compensation for new hires would be more than expected this year.
- The San Francisco-based company repeated its warning that growth of its monetizable daily active users (mDAU) – its term for daily users who can view ads – could reach “low double digits” in the next quarters, likely hitting a low point in Q2.
Restaurant Brands quarterly results top estimates on Burger King sales – Reuters, 4/30/2021
- Restaurant Brands International’s quarterly results topped estimates on Friday, as a reopening U.S. economy and government stimulus checks boosted spending at the company’s Burger King chain.
- Total revenue at Restaurant Brands, which also owns Canada’s Tim Hortons, rose 2.9% to $1.26 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.25 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
- Burger King comparable sales rose 6.6% in the United States.
- However, the rise was smaller than the 13.6% jump posted by larger rival McDonald’s on Thursday.
- U.S. same-store sales at the Cajun-inspired Popeyes rose just 1.5% in the first quarter as it struggled to repeat last year’s explosive growth amid rising competition.
- Adjusted net income rose 13.2% to $257 million, or 55 cents per share, beating estimates of 50 cents per share.
Gilead HIV, hepatitis C sales dip, shares down 2.6% – Reuters, 4/30/2021
- Gilead Sciences on Thursday reported first-quarter revenue that fell short of Wall Street estimates as the coronavirus pandemic hurt sales of its flagship HIV and hepatitis C drugs, partially offset by sales of COVID-19 antiviral treatment remdesivir.
- Revenue for the quarter rose 16% to $6.4 billion, helped by $1.46 billion in remdesivir sales.
- But total revenue still fell short of Wall Street estimates of $6.73 billion.
- Excluding remdesivir, Gilead’s product sales fell 11% to $4.9 billion.
- Sales of remdesivir, which is sold under the brand name Veklury, were also below analysts’ estimates of $1.56 billion.
- The company said Veklury sales would continue to be subject of significant volatility and uncertainty.
- Gilead reported adjusted earnings of $2.08 per share, edging out the average analyst estimate of $2.07 as compiled by Refinitiv.
- For full-year 2021, Gilead said it continues to expect adjusted earnings per share of $6.75 to $7.45 on product sales of $23.7 billion to $25.1 billion.
Exxon tops earnings estimates as oil prices, chemicals drive rebound – Reuters, 4/30/2021
- Exxon Mobil on Friday topped Wall Street quarterly earnings estimates with its first profit in five quarters, boosted by higher oil prices and strong chemicals margins.
- Exploration and production, Exxon’s largest business, earned $2.6 billion in the first quarter on higher oil prices, compared with a profit of $536 million a year earlier.
- Its chemicals business posted the best quarter since at least 2012, earning $1.4 billion on better margins, up from a $144 million profit a year ago.
- Refining lost $390 million, compared with loss of $611 million last year, on winter storm shutdowns impacts and fuel demand.
- Exxon’s deep cost cutting also boosted earnings. Exxon’s capital spending fell to $3.1 billion, the lowest in nearly two decades. Expense cuts helped lift cash flow to $9.3 billion, the highest since 2018.
- Net income was $2.73 billion, or 64 cents per share, in the first quarter, compared with a loss of $610 million, or 14 cents per share, a year earlier.
Chevron profit drops on weaker refining margins, storm hit – Reuters, 4/30/2021
- Chevron’s first-quarter profit fell 29% from the same period a year ago as gains from oil and gas prices were undercut by weaker refining margins, production losses and the impact of an asset sale that benefited results last year.
- Earnings from oil and gas production fell 20% despite price gains as non-U.S. operations suffered from declining volumes, foreign currency impacts and the absence of an asset sales gain.
- The unit benefited from higher oil volumes from the acquisition of Noble Energy in October.
- Chevron’s cash flow from operations, at $4.2 billion, was more than $1 billion below Wall Street estimates, according to Refinitiv IBES data. Its expenses for debt costs, employee pensions and benefits more than doubled to $978 million.
- Net profit was $1.4 billion, or 72 cents a share, down from $3.6 billion, or $1.93 cents a share, a year earlier.
AstraZeneca Lost Money on Its Covid-19 Vaccine – Wall Street Journal, 4/30/2021
- AstraZeneca said sales of its Covid-19 vaccine—which it has promised to sell initially without profit—haven’t kept up with its costs, resulting in a hit to earnings and a warning the vaccine effort could continue to affect margins.
- Overall first-quarter profit beat analyst expectations at $1.56 billion, roughly double a year ago, on increased revenue of $7.3 billion.
- The drug giant booked $275 million in revenue in the first three months of the year from sales of its Covid-19 vaccine, developed in partnership with the University of Oxford.
- The company delivered 68 million doses globally during the first quarter, far short of targets.
- AstraZeneca reiterated its full-year outlook for total revenue increasing by a low-teens percentage, and core earnings per share rising to between $4.75 and $5.00 from $4.00, all at constant exchange rates.
- The guidance doesn’t incorporate revenue or profit impact from Covid-19 vaccine sales or the proposed Alexion acquisition.
Goodyear Tire results top estimates as auto demand rebounds – Reuters, 4/30/2021
- Goodyear Tire & Rubber posted quarterly profit and revenue that beat Wall Street estimates on Friday, as sales of its tires rose due to a rebound in auto demand.
- Net sales rose 14.9% to $3.51 billion, beating estimates of $3.40 billion.
- The company, whose brands include Kelly and Dunlop, said tire volumes rose 12% to 35 million units in the quarter, while replacement tire volumes jumped 14%.
- The company reported a net income of $12 million, or 5 cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with a net loss of $619 million, or $2.65 per share, a year earlier.
EU Charges Apple With App Store Antitrust Violations in Spotify Case – Wall Street Journal, 4/30/2021
- The European Union charged Apple with antitrust violations for allegedly abusing its control over the distribution of music-streaming apps, broadening the battle over the tech giant’s App Store practices ahead of a federal trial in the U.S. brought by “Fortnite” maker Epic Games.
- The European Commission, the EU’s top antitrust enforcer, on Friday issued a charge sheet against Apple that says the iPhone maker squeezed rival music-streaming apps by requiring them to use Apple’s in-app payments system to sell digital content.
- In addition, EU regulators say Apple “distorted competition” by limiting how app developers can inform users about cheaper ways to subscribe outside the app. Apple’s in-app payment system imposes a 30% commission on purchases inside many of the most popular apps.
- Apple will have a chance to argue its case before the European Commission renders a decision.
- If found guilty, Apple could face a fine of up to 10% of its annual revenue and be forced to adjust its business practices, though it can also appeal any decision in court.
Sustainable fund inflows hit record high in Q1 – Morningstar – Reuters, 4/30/2021
- Record demand to invest in sustainable investment funds saw the sector’s total assets rise 19% to a fresh high of nearly $2 trillion in the first quarter, data from industry tracker Morningstar showed.
- The data showed global sustainable funds attracted a record inflow of $185.3 billion in the opening three months of the year, a 17% bump in new cash being invested compared with the prior quarter.
- Europe, at the forefront of ESG investing, saw the biggest jump in demand, with net purchases of $146.7 billion, while funds based in the United States and Asia ex-Japan saw $21.5 billion and $7.8 billion of inflows, respectively.
- Of the flows into European funds, the bulk was in actively managed funds, while index-tracking funds took in $44.5 billion, up from $40 billion in the prior quarter.
- According to the Morningstar data, 169 new sustainable funds were launched in the first quarter of 2021, down slightly from the record 215 launched in the last quarter of 2020.
U.S. Household Income Surged by Record 21.1% in March – Wall Street Journal, 4/30/2021
- Household income rose at a record pace of 21.1% in March as federal-stimulus checks helped fuel an economic revival that is poised to endure with an easing pandemic.
- The 21.1% March surge in income was the largest monthly increase for government records tracing back to 1959, largely reflecting $1,400 stimulus checks included in President Biden’s fiscal relief package signed into law in March.
- The stimulus payments accounted for $3.948 trillion of the overall seasonally adjusted $4.213 trillion rise in March personal income.
- Spending was also up sharply, increasing 4.2%, the Commerce Department said on Friday.
- That was the steepest month-over-month increase since last summer.
- Americans will have cash to spend.
- The personal-saving rate surged to 27.6% in March, the second highest rate on record, eclipsed only by last April when a first round of government aid was distributed early in the pandemic.
- People who received stimulus money drove up total spending growth by 29 percentage points in mid-March compared with the same period in 2019, Earnest transaction figures show.
- That outpaced bumps of 23 and 22 points after the first and second stimulus checks, respectively.
- The personal-consumption expenditures index excluding food and energy, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, rose 1.8% in March from a year earlier.
- In February, this price index increased 1.4% from a year earlier.
Confidence in U.S. Economy Approaches Pre-Pandemic Level – Wall Street Journal, 4/30/2021
- Consumers’ confidence in the U.S. economy rose sharply in April, marking the fourth straight month of gains as more people received vaccinations, stimulus payments reached households and businesses more fully reopened.
- The consumer confidence index increased to 121.7 in April from a revised 109.0 in March, the Conference Board said Tuesday.
- Recent improvements led the index to a more than one-year high, with the indicator approaching the pre-pandemic level of 132.6 in February 2020.
- The present situation index, which reflects consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, surged to 139.6 in April from 110.1 in March.
- The expectations index, which gauges short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions, also increased, albeit to a lesser degree, to 109.8 in April from 108.3 the prior month.
U.S. labor costs accelerate in the first quarter – Reuters, 4/30/2021
- U.S. labor costs increased more than expected in the first quarter as wage growth picked up, further evidence that inflation will push higher this year as the economy reopens.
- The Employment Cost Index, the broadest measure of labor costs, jumped 0.9% last quarter after gaining 0.7% in the October-December quarter.
- That lifted the year-on-year rate of increase to 2.6% from 2.5% in the fourth quarter.
- Wages and salaries shot up 1.0% after advancing 0.8% in the fourth quarter.
- They were up 2.7% year-on-year.
- Economists expect wages will increase further in the second quarter as companies compete for scarce workers.
EUROPE & WORLD
China’s Economic Recovery From Covid-19 Shows Signs of Slowing – Wall Street Journal, 4/30/2021
- Official gauges across China’s economy fell short of expectations in April, hit in part by semiconductor shortages, suggesting that the economy’s strong pandemic bounceback is starting to lose some momentum more than a year into the recovery.
- China’s official purchasing manager’s indexes showed manufacturing activity falling more sharply than expected, dropping to 51.1 in April, according to data released Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics—lower than March’s 51.9 reading and falling short of the 51.6 median forecast expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.
- China’s nonmanufacturing PMI, which includes services and construction activity, fell to 54.9 in April from March’s 56.3 level. The subindex measuring business activity in the service sector fell to 54.4 from March’s 55.2.
- The official PMI subindex tracking construction dropped to 57.4 in April, from 62.3 in the previous month, a move economists said reflects the impact of tighter regulations and tougher financing for property developers.
- The employment subindexes of both the official manufacturing and nonmanufacturing PMIs fell deeper into contractionary territory in April, Friday’s data showed.
Alibaba freezes executive pay amid China’s curbs on big tech -sources – Reuters, 4/30/2021
- Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding has frozen pay for senior executives in 2021 and is instead giving junior staff bigger salary increases, sources said, in an effort to preserve its workforce amid a regulatory clampdown.
- Hundreds of top-tier executives at Alibaba are not entitled to salary hikes this year, unless they performed extraordinarily, four sources familiar with the matter said.
- The pay moves mark a departure from the usual for Alibaba, which has been the focal point of China’s months-long crackdown on the mainland’s big and powerful technology companies on worries about their market dominance and ability to sway public opinion.
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