Microsoft, Applied Materials, Moderna and more
Internet company Microsoft’s China office building is seen in Shanghai, China, Dec. 8, 2020.
Barcroft Media – Getty Images Take a look at the headline-grabbing companies during midday trading.| Barcroft Media | Getty Images
Check out the companies making headlines in midday trading.
Tech stocks — Tech stocks dropped as the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield touched a high of 1.567% Tuesday. Twitter fell 4.7%, Microsoft and Google lost more than 3%, Salesforce slipped by 2.6%. Tech stocks are among the most vulnerable because rising bond yields can lower future earnings. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is on pace for its 10th down day in the past 15 sessions.
Applied Materials — Shares of the semiconductor stock dropped 6.8% after New Street downgraded the stock to neutral from buy. Wall Street firm cited Applied Material’s extremely high valuation as reason for the downgrade. Other semis fell as well, with Advanced Micro Devices over 5% lower and Micron Technology, which will report earnings after the bell, down more than 2%.
BioNTech, Moderna — Vaccine makers BioNTech and Moderna fell 8.6% and 5.4%, respectively, after the French drugmaker Sanofi announced positive results from a study of its MRNA-based Covid vaccine. Sanofi announced that further development would be stopped because Moderna (Pfizer) and the market are already well-dominated. It will instead use MRNA technology to develop other vaccines, and a Covid-based vaccine developed with GlaxoSmithKline.
Wells Fargo — Shares of Wells Fargo fell 4.2% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to equal weight from overweight, citing persistent regulatory challenges. The call comes after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said last week the central bank would maintain its $1.95 trillion asset cap on Wells Fargo “until the firm has comprehensively fixed its problems.” Morgan Stanley believes that Wells Fargo’s expense will rise if the regulatory issues are overcome.
Huntsman Corp. — The chemical maker’s stock gained over 7% after the activist hedge fund Starboard Value took an 8.4% stake in the company, according to the Wall Street Journal. Starboard reported that Starboard claimed the shares are undervalued and will make changes to increase its stock performance.
United Natural Foods — The food distributor surged more than 20% after the company reported quarterly earnings of $1.18 per share, which beat the consensus estimate of 80 cents per share. The consensus estimate for revenue was lower than the actual results. It reported that the company experienced strong demand from customers due to pandemics in its same quarter last year.
Thor Industries — The vehicle maker’s stock jumped 7.6% after the company reported quarterly earnings of $4.12 per share that beat analysts’ estimates of of $2.92 a share. Wall Street also saw revenue surpass expectations. Thor spoke out citing continued demand for RVs, and stating that backlogs have reached a new record.
FactSet — Shares of the financial data and software company ticked more than 4% higher after beating on the top and bottom lines of its quarterly results. FactSet earned $2.88 per share on revenues of almost $412 millions. Wall Street had expected earnings to be $2.72 on $405 million in revenue, according Refinitiv.
Energy stocks — Energy stocks continued their rally as the international oil benchmark Brent crude and the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed on Tuesday before retreating. Cabot Oil & Gas and Cimarex each added more than 1%. Halliburton Nearly 2%.
— CNBC’s Maggie Fitzgerald and Yun Li contributed reporting
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