Pfizer, BioNTech to Supply U.S. With Additional 100 Million Doses of Covid Vaccine
Topic of the day
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said the U.S. government has exercised its option for an additional 100 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccine. This brings the total number of doses to be supplied by the companies to the U.S. government to 300 million. Consistent with the agreements for the prior 200 million doses, the U.S. government will pay $1.95 billion for the additional 100 million doses. Eligible U.S. residents will continue to receive the vaccine for free. Pfizer's facility in Kalamazoo, Mich., will remain the primary manufacturing site of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S. "It is our objective to supply as many doses of our COVID-19 vaccine as possible to people in order to help end this pandemic, reduce the hospitalization of especially elderly people and bring us back to our normal lives," said BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin.
The SMI continued its sideways movement Friday to close up 0.3 percent on 10,880 points. Trading was quiet, with no reporting season news and key Asian markets closed for Chinese New Year. Zurich Insurance slid 0.7 percent after releasing figures Thursday. One analyst group confirmed its "outperform" rating and slightly raised its target, saying Zurich still had strong capitalisation in its sector. Another analyst group confirmed its “buy” rating, slightly lowered the target, but said Zurich’s figures were slightly better than expected. Credit Suisse (CS) rose 0.2 percent, lagging UBS, up 0.6 percent. CS had paid US financial services firm MBIA USD 600 million to end a dispute from 2009. Lonza, ABB and Givaudan each rose about 1 percent to head the SMI. Swatch was the weakest stock, down 0.9 percent. Heavyweights Novartis, up 0.2 percent, and Roche, up 0.6 percent, buoyed the market. Second-tier biotech firm Basilea rose 2.4 percent on presenting data on its cancer drug Derazantinib.
European stocks rise after former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi received key backing to form a new government in Italy, raising hopes for an end to the country's political crisis. The Stoxx Europe 600 gains 0.6%, the FTSE 100 advances 0.9%, the DAX adds 0.1% and the CAC-40 rises 0.6%. Members of Italy's 5-Star Movement voted yesterday to back joining a government led by Prime Minister-delegate Draghi after the former coalition collapsed in a dispute over how to use the EU recovery fund. Danish hearing aid manufacturer GN Store Nord shares jump 6.7% and Dutch bank ING gains 6.3% after both posted robust 4Q earnings. ING Groep NV reported a net profit of 727 million euros ($882.1 million) for the fourth quarter of 2020, from EUR880 million for the year-earlier period. Net profit had been expected to fall to EUR456.2 million, according to a forecast taken from FactSet and based on two analysts' estimates. The Dutch bank's underlying pretax profit declined to EUR1.05 billion from EUR1.34 billion for the year-earlier period. It had been expected to decrease to EUR895.4 million, according to a forecast taken from FactSet and based on two analysts' estimates. L'Oreal SA said that net profit fell in 2020 due to a decline of the beauty market during the pandemic, but growth accelerated in the fourth quarter. The French cosmetics and consumer-products company reported a net profit after minorities of 3.56 billion euros ($4.31 billion) in the period, compared with EUR3.75 billion the previous year. Sales for the year were EUR27.99 billion, down from EUR29.87 billion. In the fourth quarter, sales were flat at EUR7.88 billion.
Major U.S. stock indexes closed in record territory, despite ending the week with only muted gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added a modest 0.1% gain that was still enough to push it to a closing record. The S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite both traded to new records, with 0.5% gains on the day. The three indexes posted weekly gains of 1% to 1.7%. Consumers' view of the economy slipped in early February as Americans were more downbeat about future business conditions, according to a University of Michigan survey released Friday. The preliminary estimate of the index of consumer sentiment came in at 76.2 in February, down from 79.0 in January. The decline in sentiment was concentrated in the measure of future expectations and among households with incomes below $75,000, said Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist. PayPal Holdings Inc. has been a big winner during the pandemic as more people experiment with digital payments, and the company sees its strong momentum continuing for years. The company expects that it could have 750 million active accounts by 2025, Chief Executive Dan Schulman said at PayPal's (PYPL) virtual investor-day presentation Thursday, which would be nearly double the 377 million that PayPal had as of the fourth quarter. PayPal also is targeting $50 billion in revenue in 2025, according to Chief Financial Officer John Rainey, up from $21.5 billion in 2020. That would bring the company's compound annual growth rate up to 20% over the next five years, compared with 18% over the past five years. Expedia Group Inc. reported a wider loss and weak demand for its latest quarter, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to complicate travel plans for many consumers and businesses. The digital-travel company on Thursday reported a loss attributable to the company of $383 million, compared with earnings of $76 million for the fourth quarter last year. The loss per share amounted to $2.89, compared with a profit of 52 cents for the year-earlier period.
In Asia, trading volumes are likely to be muted, with China and Hong Kong closed for Lunar New Year, and the U.S. markets closed for a public holiday. The Nikkei briefly rose above 30000 for the first time since August 1990, driven by gains in financial and electronics stocks. Many companies have been revising up their earnings guidance, citing recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 10-year Treasury yield was around 1.2% in Asia, having broken above the level on Friday amid worries that pent-up inflationary pressures would hurt the value of longer-dated debt. The 30-year bond yield also held above its own significant level of 2%.
CS rises the X-Fab target to 3,35 (2,70) EUR – Underperform
CS rises the Pernod-Ricard target to 172 (170) EUR – Neutral
UBS rises the Adyen target to 2.518 (2.021) EUR – Buy
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