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End of Day Briefing - Recap of Wednesday Nov. 18, 2020

Stocks go lower as NYC closes schools again

The major averages finished lower as the market continues to weigh vaccine hopes against the resurgence in virus cases. On the plus side of that equation, Pfizer announced that its vaccine was 95% effective in its final read of study data and that it will seek government authorization in the next few days. Additionally, the FDA announced emergency use authorization for the Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit, the first COVID-19 test designed for users to get at home results within an hour. However, on the other side, Japan - which has been viewed as one of the countries widely seen as having the virus under control - has joined other major cities around the world with more restrictions for Tokyo. Meanwhile, starting tomorrow, all New York City school buildings will be closed for in-person learning until further notice. According to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, the city has reached the 3% testing positivity 7-day average threshold, resulting in the school building closures out of "an abundance of caution."

ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., housing starts climbed 4.9% to a 1.53M pace in October, which was stronger than expected.

TOP NEWS: Shares of Boeing ($BA) slid 3.2% in what looked like a "sell the news" reaction to FAA Administrator Steve Dickson signing an order that "paves the way" for the Boeing 737 MAX to return to commercial service. The Federal Aviation Administration move will allow airlines that are under the FAA's jurisdiction, including those in the U.S., to take the steps necessary to resume service and Boeing to begin making deliveries of its 737-8s and 737-9s, the company noted.

In COVID-19 news, Pfizer ($PFE) and BioNTech SE ($BNTX) announced that, after conducting the final efficacy analysis in their ongoing Phase 3 study, their mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, showed a vaccine efficacy rate of 95% in participants without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection - the first primary objective - and also in participants with and without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection - the second primary objective - in each case measured from 7 days after the second dose. In addition, the companies announced that the safety milestone required by the U.S. FDA for Emergency Use Authorization has been achieved and that they plan to submit a request "within days" to the FDA for such an EUA.

Shares of Target ($TGT) rose 2.3% after what Cowen analyst Oliver Chen called "another quarter of exceptionally strong results." The company's "blowout" Q3 report featured comp sales growth of 20.7% and e-commerce growth of 155%, said Chen, who identifies Target as Cowen's Top Pick in the broadlines and department stores space.

Meanwhile, shares of Lowe's ($LOW) fell 8.2% following the company's own quarterly report despite sales that beat estimates and a comparable sales increase of 30.1%. The company's earnings per share for Q3, and the mid-point of its earnings outlook for Q4, trailed analysts' consensus estimates.

Shares of Tesla ($TSLA) ended the day 10.2% higher after Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas upgraded the stock to Overweight from Equal Weight with a price target of $540, up from $360.

Additionally, Google ($GOOG) intends to let users open bank accounts, pay friends, and manage budgets through an updated version of its Pay app launching Wednesday, according to media reports. Citi ($C) shared a "sneak preview" of the Citi Plex Account, launching on Google Pay in 2021, with a consumer waitlist opening today.

MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Nikola ($NKLA), which rose 15.4% after General Motors ($GM) posted a reference on its website to "an agreement with Nikola to engineer and manufacture the Nikola Badger." However, a Nikola representative told Bloomberg there is "nothing new" to report in terms of the company's talks with GM on finalizing a partnership agreement. Also higher was TJX ($TJX), which gained 1.9% after reporting quarterly results.

Among the notable losers was JOYY ($YY), which dropped 26.5% after Muddy Water called the stock a "near-total fraud" in a short call. Also lower was PaySign ($PAYS), which fell 31.6% after reporting quarterly results.

  • Nasdaq Composite +31.5% YTD
  • S&P 500 +10.4% YTD
  • Russell 2000 +6.0% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +3.2% YTD

Market Snapshot
SP 5003567.93-41.74(-1.16%)
10-yr Note -23/320.877
NYSEAdv 1130 Dec 1888 Vol 989.8 mln
NasdaqAdv 1349 Dec 2153 Vol 4.6 bln

Industry Watch
Strong: Industrials
Weak: Energy, Health Care, Utilities, Real Estate

Moving the Market

-- Recent bullishness is tempered with 1% losses in major indices

-- NYC announced temporary school closures due to the coronavirus

-- Market unable to gain traction despite good news regarding a vaccine, corporate earnings, and economic data

Disclosure: I may trade in the ticker symbols mentioned, both long or short. My articles represent my personal opinion and analysis and should not be taken as investment advice. Readers should do their own research before making decisions to buy or sell securities. Trading and investing include risks, including loss of principal.

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