Dow Jones, S&P 500 Falters; Walgreens Reports Strong Earnings Today

Stock Market Today Mid-Morning Updates

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down by 160 points. This comes after the declassified U.S. intelligence has claimed that Putin’s senior advisers have been “too afraid to tell the President the truth” about the reality of the situation on the ground. A U.S. official says that the U.S. believes that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions. NATO also reported that Russian forces are not withdrawing and instead have repositioned after vows of scaling down military operations near Ukraine’s capital and Chernihiv.

Today, Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD) was downgraded to equal-weight from overweight at Barclays (NYSE: BCS). Barclays cites that the PC and gaming markets are due for a correction. It also points to cyclical risks in several different end markets for AMD. Kinross Gold (NYSE: KGC) is reportedly in talks to sell a Russian mine to Russia-backed investment firm Fortiana Holdings. 

Among the Dow Jones leaders, shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) are down by 1.08% today while Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is also down by 0.73%. Meanwhile, Disney (NYSE: DIS) and Nike (NYSE: NKE) are trading lower on Thursday. Among the Dow financial leaders, Visa (NYSE: V) is down by 0.90% while Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) is also down by 0.64%.

Shares of EV leader Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) are down by 0.40% on Thursday. Rival EV companies like Rivian (NASDAQ: RIVN) are down 3.61%. Lucid Group (NASDAQ: LCID) is also down by 3.44% today. Chinese EV leaders like Nio (NYSE: NIO) and Xpeng Motors (NYSE: XPEV) opened higher today.

Dow Jones Today: Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index and Jobless Claims Increases

Following the stock market opening on Thursday, the S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq are trading lower at 0.33%, 0.48%, and 0.48% respectively. However, the Dow is trading higher at 0.04%. Among exchange-traded funds, the Nasdaq 100 tracker Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) is down by 0.50% while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA: SPY) is down by 0.37%. 

The 10-year Treasury yield dropped below 2.4% today. Oil prices also sink after a slight OPEC+ output hike. West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. oil benchmark, fell 6% to around $101 per barrel on Thursday even after the OPEC+ agreed to raise output targets by 432,000 barrels per day. President Joe Biden is also set to announce plans to release 1 million barrels of oil per day for several months from America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The Commerce Department’s personal consumption expenditures price index increased by 6.4% from the same period in 2021, the fastest pace since January 1982. This shows intensifying price pressures that continue to plague consumers. Weekly jobless claims rise to 202,000 this week after reaching a 50-year low as employers continue to show reluctance in reducing their workforces in a tight labor market. The Labor Department released its latest weekly jobless claims report today at 8:30 a.m. ET.

[Read More] Top Stock Market News For Today March 31, 2022

Walgreens Tops Quarterly Estimates On Strong Vaccine Demand; Looks Towards Robots To Help Fill Prescriptions

Walgreens (NASDAQ: WBA) is making headlines in the stock market today thanks to several key announcements. To begin with, the company hosted its second fiscal quarter earnings call earlier today. For the quarter, Walgreens is looking at admirable figures across the board. Diving in, the company posted earnings of $1.59 per share alongside revenue of $33.76 billion. For comparison, Wall Street’s estimates were at $1.40 and $33.4 billion.

Not to mention, Walgreens is also seeing significant growth in its same-store retail sales growth across key markets. Namely, its year-over-year growth in the U.S. and U.K. for the quarter is at 14.7% and 22% respectively. If all that wasn’t enough, the company’s e-commerce sales in the U.S. are also up by 38% over the same period. For the most part, it attributes the solid performance this quarter to a surge in Covid vaccine administration services. Throughout the quarter, Walgreens administered 11.8 million Covid shots.

Moreover, Walgreens is also actively looking to better optimize its massive operations. According to CEO Roz Brewer, the company is now looking toward robots to automate the process of subscription fulfillment. It aims to do so by setting up 22 auto-fill facilities across the U.S. through 2025. By then, Walgreens estimates that almost half of its total prescription volume will be handled by robots. As it stands, the company’s center in Northlake currently fills around 35,000 prescriptions a day. Moving forward, Walgreens is looking to increase this figure to 100,000 eventually. While some may be concerned regarding Walgreens’ post-pandemic prospects, the company seems to be hard at work nonetheless. 

WBA stock
Source: TradingView

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Novavax Looks To Expand Use Of Covid Vaccine To Teens In The E.U.

In other news, Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) appears to be making a splash on the vaccine front. As of today, the company is applying for a conditional marketing authorization (CMA) from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Through this CMA, Novavax is hoping to expand the use of its vaccine candidate to adolescents aged 12 through 17 years. Explaining the company’s reasons behind this application is Novavax CEO Stanley Erck. He says, “We are continuing to see spikes in COVID-19 across Europe and recognize the need to improve vaccination rates, particularly in the pediatric population.

In detail, Novavax’s submission includes clinical data from the ongoing pediatric expansion of its Phase 3 trials. The likes of which consist of 2,247 adolescents aged 12 through 17 years from across 73 sites in the U.S. As you can imagine the trials serve to study the safety, efficacy, and effectiveness of Novavax’s Covid vaccine in this demographic. As it stands, India’s Drug Controller General has already approved the use of the vaccine on individuals within this age group. At the same time, Novavax’s licensee, SK bioscience, is currently making a similar rolling submission. For investors looking toward coronavirus vaccine stocks, NVAX stock could be worth nothing now.

NVAX stock
Source: TradingView

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