Thursday, December 3, 2020
Home Economy Walmart, Moderna, Amazon: Stocks That Defined the Week

Walmart, Moderna, Amazon: Stocks That Defined the Week

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Walmart posted its third consecutive quarter of growth, driven by a 79% jump in e-commerce sales.

Walmart posted its third consecutive quarter of growth, driven by a 79% jump in e-commerce sales.

Photo: mario anzuoni/Reuters

Walmart Inc.

Home-improvement projects and household basics are propping up big-box retailers as the coronavirus intensifies again. Walmart posted its third consecutive quarter of growth, driven by a 79% jump in e-commerce sales.
Target Corp.
said comparable sales rose 20.7% as the retailer gobbled up market share from pandemic-stricken rivals. And
Home Depot Inc.
is increasing pay for front-line workers after the pandemic brought another strong quarter. Walmart shares fell 2% Tuesday.

Moderna Inc.

Another drugmaker provided a boost to hopes that a coronavirus vaccine might be right around the corner. Moderna said Monday that its experimental shot was 94.5% effective at protecting people from Covid-19, according to an early analysis of study results. Regulators still need to review more complete data expected later this month. Moderna said it plans to seek authorization from federal health authorities by early December. A rival drugmaker,
Pfizer Inc.,
released final data showing its vaccine to be 95% effective, the company said Wednesday. Pfizer is on track to begin distributing its shot by the end of the year if regulators give the green light. Moderna shares rose 9.6% Monday.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

A Pittsburgh bank is one step closer to establishing its national stature after announcing one of the largest bank tie-ups since the 2008-09 financial crisis. PNC said Monday that it has agreed to buy the U.S. operations of Spain’s
BBVA
for $11.6 billion. The deal would expand the lender’s presence in the West and Southeast, making it the fifth-largest retail bank in the U.S. with more than $550 billion in assets. Big bank mergers have been rare since 2008, but regional lenders are beginning to feel pressure to consolidate as industry giants like
Bank of America Corp.
and
JPMorgan Chase
& Co. rake in a greater share of the market. PNC shares rose 2.9% Monday.

Boeing Co.

Boeing’s 737 MAX is once again cleared for takeoff. The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday it approved the jet for passenger flights again, helping to bring an end to one crisis as Boeing grapples with another wrought by the pandemic: fewer travelers. The MAX has been grounded since March 2019 after two crashes killed 346 people. U.S. regulators issued safety directives and notices to airlines globally that clear the way for Boeing to resume deliveries of the passenger jet, but a collapse in demand for air travel has prompted airlines to cancel orders. Boeing shares fell 3.2% Wednesday.

Amazon.
com Inc.

The Everything Store is now a pharmacy, too. Amazon announced Tuesday that consumers can now fill their prescription online, delivering a blow to big pharmacy chains. The industry has been anticipating this since Amazon acquired online pharmacy PillPack Inc. about two years ago. Investors now worry that Amazon Pharmacy might cause big-name drugstores to suffer the same fate as traditional bookstores and toy shops. Many chains have already been grappling with falling sales as customers increasingly turn to online shopping. But most Americans still fill their prescriptions in-person. Amazon shares rose 0.1% Tuesday.

Tesla Inc.

Tesla investors were electric after learning that the Silicon Valley car company would be joining the S&P 500. The electric-auto maker will be added to the index on Dec. 21, S&P Dow Jones Indices said late Monday. The addition will likely send Tesla’s already highflying shares to new heights, analysts say, thanks to the roughly $11 trillion in mutual funds and other investments that track the S&P 500. Tesla’s stock has more than quintupled this year, and the company is set to become the most valuable firm to ever join the index. Tesla shares rose 8.2% Tuesday.

Verizon Communications Inc.

Two of the biggest names in digital media are joining forces as they look for new ways to generate revenue. BuzzFeed Inc. said Thursday it agreed to acquire Verizon Media’s HuffPost. The stock deal would give Verizon Media, a unit of Verizon Communications, a minority stake in BuzzFeed, though financial terms for the deal weren’t disclosed. Companies in the digital media sector have been searching for ways to reignite growth as tech giants continue to suck up digital ad revenue and the pandemic drags on. Verizon shares fell 0.2% Thursday.