Here are five things you must know for Friday, Feb. 12:
1. — Stock Futures Fall After S&P 500 Posts Record Closing High
Stock futures pointed to a lower start for Wall Street on Friday after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs in the previous session.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 27 points, S&P 500 futures declined 6 points and Nasdaq futures were down 15 points.
Stocks closed mixed Thursday after a report on U.S. jobless claims suggested the labor market remains a weak spot in the economy. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq scored record highs as technology shares gained. The Dow fell 0.02%.
Hopes for more stimulus and improved vaccine distribution has investors remaining cautiously optimistic the U.S. economy will recover sometime in 2021.
President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have continued their push for a potential $1.9 trillion relief package.
Legislation that would include direct payments of $1,400 to Americans – a key part of Biden’s stimulus plan – and tax credits was advanced Thursday by the House Ways and Means Committee.
2. — U.S. Secures 100 Million Vaccine Doses Each From Pfizer and Moderna
President Biden said the United States has secured 100 million additional COVID-19 vaccine doses each from Pfizer (PFE) – Get Report and Moderna (MRNA) – Get Report, and the country will have enough vaccines by the end of July to cover every American adult.
The 200 million doses add to the 400 million doses that the Trump administration already had ordered from the two drugmakers.
“We remain in the teeth of this pandemic,” Biden said Thursday during a tour of the National Institutes of Health.
The president noted that January was the deadliest month of the pandemic, in which “we lost over 100,000 of our fellow citizens.”
Deaths in the U.S. from the virus have reached more than 475,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
3. — Walt Disney Posts Surprise Profit as Streaming Subscribers Surge
Walt Disney (DIS) – Get Report was rising more than 1% in premarket trading Friday after the world’s largest entertainment company posted a surprise profit in the fiscal first quarter, led by its streaming service, Disney+.
Subscribers to Disney+ rose to 94.9 million in the period, topping analysts’ forecasts. Adjusted earnings of 32 cents a share beat Wall Street estimates that called for a loss of 34 cents. Sales of $16.25 billion also came in higher than estimates of $15.9 billion.
“Disney+ has exceeded even our highest expectations,” CEO Bob Chapek told investors on a conference call. He noted that subscribers to the service were just 26.5 million a year earlier.
Total direct-to-consumer revenue in the first quarter rose 73% from last year to $3.5 billion, with the segment reducing its operating loss to $466 million from $1.1 billion. Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu had a combined 146 million paid subscribers.
“The most important business right now is direct-to-consumer, and we like what we saw in terms of the subscriber base growing and total operating losses greatly improving'” said Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, which holds Disney in its portfolio. “This will give the market confidence that management can beat its fiscal 2024 profitability target.”
The stock rose 1.37% to $193.53 in premarket trading Friday.
4. — Aurora Cannabis Says It’s Back on ‘Offense’
Aurora Cannabis (ACB) – Get Report turned lower in premarket trading Friday after the Canadian cannabis company reported a wider-than-expected loss in its fiscal second quarter but said it was in a strong financial position and expects to continue “progress” toward positive cash flow.
The company reported an adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of C$16.8 million ($13.3 million). Excluding restructuring costs and product return provisions, the company said it lost C$12.1 million ($9.6 million) in the period.
“Adjusted Ebitda for the quarter, while vastly improved year over year, was impacted by several decisions that we believe will clear a path for our premium product focus and more variable cost model,” said CEO Miguel Martin in a statement. “We are confident that this will give Aurora maximum flexibility and position the organization to drive significant cash flow in the coming quarters.”
During a conference call, Martin said 2020 was a “difficult year” but “we formulated and introduced a new strategy, and I know I speak for our entire team when I say we’re thrilled to be back on offense.”
The stock fell 7.53% in premarket trading to $13.38 after closing with a loss of 23.5% on Thursday as it was swept up in a broad selloff of marijuana stocks. Until Thursday, the cannabis sector had been surging amid interest from online chat rooms and on anticipation of wider spread U.S. legalization under the Biden administration.
5. — Bumble Surges 63% in Trading Debut
The stock surged more than 63% to close at $70.31 on Thursday. Its initial public offering was priced Wednesday at $43 a share.
In premarket trading Friday, the stock rose 4.11% to $73.20.
Bumble raised $2.15 billion in its IPO, expanding the size of the listing and pricing the shares above a marketed range.
“We purpose-built the Bumble app with features designed to empower women, giving them more control in relationships,” Bumble said in its prospectus. “We believe that by empowering women through rewriting relationship dynamics, we can make the world better for everyone.”
TheStreet’s Jim Cramer Bumble was a buy in its debut as it has built a business of providing a safe place for dating.
“It’s a gentle entrant into a business that is essentially an app,” Cramer said.