Key FDA Advisory Panel Backs Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine Booster Shots

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) key vaccine advisory committee on Friday said the agency should authorize boosters of Johnson & Johnson's (NYSE: JNJ) COVID-19 vaccine to those who have already received the initial dose. The unanimous vote--by the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee--recommends second shots to everyone 18 years and older, making more than 15 million Americans eligible for the booster. Moving forward, the agency will give its own ruling on the shots. From there, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) own independent vaccine committee will decide who should receive the extra doses, and, if it issues a recommendation and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky backs it, booster shots could begin immediately.

Pearson & Virgin Galactic Move on News

Today shares of British education publishing firm Pearson (NYSE: PSO) and American space flight firm Virgin Galactic Holdings (NYSE: SPCE) are both moving on news updates. Pearson said its higher education sales have declined 7% so far this year, even though the firm maintained its full-year guidance. Pearson noted enrollments at community colleges in the US seem to have been negatively impacted by the Delta coronavirus variant. Virgin Galactic said it is delaying the launch of its commercial space service from the third quarter of 2022 to the fourth quarter. The firm explained it will take the extra time make improvements to its space vehicles. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) cut its price target from $25 to $20 due to "increased uncertainty and lack of clarity" from the firm. In the afternoon, Pearson shares plunged 14.9%, and Virgin Galactic shares plunged 17.1%.

China Properties Defaults on $226 Million of Debt

China Properties Group Ltd announced on Friday it has defaulted on notes worth $226 million after it failed to secure funds by the maturity date, joining a list of embattled property developers in the country that are struggling with an ongoing debt crisis. The Hong Kong-based developer said it had failed to secure funds by the maturity date of the notes on October 15 due to a "timing mismatch" and it would not be able to make repayments until it had sold or refinanced some of its assets. The firm noted its controlling shareholder Wong Sai Chung assured he would continue to provide support through the liquidity crisis, as the notes will be delisted from foreign exchanges. China Properties' statement came after Chinese developer Sinic Holdings said this week it would likely default on bonds worth $250 million. The cases highlight the impact of Evergrande Group (OTC: EGRNF), which is grappling with $305 billion in debt, on the rest of the Chinese real estate sector.

Charles Schwab Beats on Earnings

Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW) reported third quarter earnings today before the bell, and in the afternoon its stock has risen 3.4% to $80.80 on the earnings beat. The financial giant posted record net income of $1.526 billion, up 119% from $698 million in the prior year period, or GAAP earnings per share of 74 cents, beating consensus estimates of 70 cents. Schwab posted adjusted earnings per share of 84 cents, up 65% from 51 cents and beating consensus estimates of 81 cents. The firm posted revenue of $4.57 billion, up 86.5% and beating estimates by $60 million. Core net new assets soared 28% quarterly to $139.0 billion. Total client assets grew 14% to $7.61 trillion compared to estimates of $7.73 trillion, and total active brokerage accounts reached 32.7 million, compared to estimates of 32.8 million. Chief executive Walt Bettinger said bullish sentiment persisted throughout the quarter amid an uneven economic recovery.

Goldman Sachs Beats on Earnings

Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) reported third quarter earnings today before the bell, and in the afternoon its stock has risen 3.5% to $405 on the earnings beat. The investment bank posted net income of $5.284 billion, up 63% from $3.233 billion in the prior year period. Goldman posted GAAP earnings per share of $14.93, up from $8.98 and easily beating consensus estimates of $10.04. The firm posted revenue of $13.61 billion, up 26.3% and beating consensus estimates by $2 billion. Provision for credit losses was a benefit of $175 million. Assets under supervision grew to $2.372 trillion. Looking ahead to the full year, Goldman did not give earnings guidance. Chief executive David Solomon said the firm saw strong operating performance and an acceleration of its investment in growth.

J.B. Hunt Jumps on Earnings Beat

J.B. Hunt Transport Services (NASDAQ: JBHT) reported third quarter earnings today before the bell, and in the afternoon its stock has jumped 9% to $191 on the earnings beat. The logistics and transportation firm posted net income of $199.8 million, up from $125.5 million in the prior year period. JB Hunt posted GAAP earnings per share of $1.88, up from $1.18 and beating consensus estimates of $1.78. The firm posted revenue of $3.14 billion, up 27.1% and beating consensus estimates by $110 million. Operating income soared 56% to $273.8 million, and total freight transactions climbed to $518 million. Cash and equivalents increased to $530 million. Looking ahead to the full year, JB Hunt did not give earnings guidance.

Prologis Beats on Earnings

Prologis (NYSE: PLD) reported third quarter earnings today before the bell, and in the afternoon its stock has risen 0.6% to $136.40 on the earnings beat. The logistics REIT posted net income of $722 million, up from $299 million in the prior year period, or GAAP earnings per share of 97 cents, up from 40 cents. Prologis posted adjusted funds from operations of $1.04 per share, up from 90 cents and beating consensus estimates of $1.03. The firm posted revenue of $1.18 billion, up 9.3% and beating estimates by $150 million. Chief executive Hamid Moghadam said the firm's results were impacted by record increases in market rents and valuations. Looking ahead to the full year, Prologis lifted its guidance, now seeing net income of $3.64 to $3.68 per share and adjusted FFO of $4.11 to $4.13 per share.

PNC Beats on Earnings

PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC) reported third quarter earnings today before the bell, and at midday its stock has slipped 1.75% to $199 on the earnings beat. The financial institution posted net income of $1.49 billion, down from $1.53 billion in the prior year period, or GAAP earnings per share of $3.30, missing consensus estimates of $3.37. PNC posted adjusted net income of $1.60 billion or earnings per share of $3.75, beating consensus estimates of $3.64. The firm posted revenue of $5.2 billion, up 20.9% and beating estimates by $150 million. Provision for credit losses was a benefit of $203 million. Average loans jumped 14% to $291.3 billion, and average deposits climbed 13% to $454.4 million. Chief executive William Demchak said the firm incorporated BBVA USA and delivered solid financial results reflecting revenue growth and strong credit quality performance.

Truist Financial Beats on Earnings

Truist Financial (NYSE: TFC) reported third quarter earnings today before the bell, and at midday its stock has traded flat to $60.65 on the earnings beat. The financial institution posted net income of $1.62 billion, up 51% from $1.07 billion in the prior year period, or GAAP earnings per share of $1.20, easily beating consensus estimates of $1.09. Truist posted adjusted net income of $1.9 billion or earnings per share of $1.42, up from 97 cents and easily beating consensus estimates of $1.20. The firm posted revenue of $5.63 billion, up 0.5% and beating estimates by $100 million. Provision for credit losses was a benefit of $324 million. Average loans and leases dipped 0.8% quarterly to $286.2 billion, while average deposits rose 1.6% to $402.7 billion. Chief executive William Rogers said the firm generated solid results driven by strong fee income from its diverse business.

Sensient Technologies Beats on Earnings

Sensient Technologies (NYSE: SXT) reported third quarter earnings today before the bell, and at midday its stock has risen 3.1% to $94.64 on the earnings beat. The specialty chemicals firm posted net income of $33.9 million, up 3.0% from $32.9 million in the prior year period, or GAAP earnings per share of 80 cents, barely missing consensus estimates of 81 cents. Sensient posted adjusted earnings per share of 85 cents, up 10.4% from 77 cents and beating consensus estimates of 81 cents. The firm posted revenue of $344.28 million, up 6.4% and beating estimates by $16.68 million. The firm hiked its quarterly dividend 5.1% to 41 cents. Chief executive Paul Manning said the dividend increase reflects ongoing confidence in the future. Looking ahead to the full year, Sensient sees mid-to-high single-digit adjusted earnings growth and high single-digit revenue growth.

Alcoa Soars on Earnings Beat

Alcoa (NYSE: AA) reported third quarter earnings yesterday after the bell, and today at midday its stock has soared 14.4% to $55.80 on the earnings beat. The aluminum producer posted record net income of $337 million, up massively from a net loss of $49 million in the prior year period, or GAAP earnings per share of $1.76, beating consensus estimates of $1.68. Alcoa posted adjusted earnings per share of $2.05, up from -$1.17 and easily beating consensus estimates of $1.80. The firm posted revenue of $3.11 billion, up 31.2% and beating estimates by $190 million. Chief executive Roy Harvey said the firm is stronger and better poised and will continue its positive momentum to deliver value through the commodity cycle. Looking ahead to the full year, Alcoa sees alumina shipments of 14.1 to 14.2 million metric tons and aluminum shipments of 2.9 to 3.0 million metric tons.

Duck Creek Craters Despite Earnings Beat

Duck Creek Technologies (NASDAQ: DCT) reported fourth quarter and full year earnings yesterday after the bell, and today in the morning its stock has cratered 24.4% to below $35 despite the earnings beat. The insurance software firm posted a net loss of $5.6 million, up from a net loss of $21.5 million in the prior year period, or GAAP earnings per share of -4 cents, beating consensus estimates of -5 cents. Duck Creek posted adjusted net income of $2.6 million or earnings per share of 2 cents and in line with consensus estimates. The firm posted revenue of $70.8 million, up 21.4% and beating estimates by $1.71 million. For the full year, the firm reported a net loss of $16.9 million and adjusted net income of $10.7 million. Looking ahead to fiscal 2022, Duck Creek sees revenue of $292.0 to $300.0 million, below analysts' expectations.

UK Lawmaker Dies after Stabbing Attack

British lawmaker David Amess has died after being stabbed multiple times on Friday at a church in southeast England, local police reported. The stabbing attack occurred at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea in the county of Essex. Sky News first reported that a man had walked into the constituency meeting and stabbed Amess with a knife multiple times. Essex Police said that a person had been arrested following the incident and confirmed that Amess had later died: "We were called to an address in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm today. We attended and found a man injured. He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene." The police said the 25-year-old attacker was arrested for murder. Amess represented the Southend West constituency and was first elected to Parliament as a Conservative MP in 1983. Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the attack.

US Retail Sales Rose 0.7% in September

The US Census Bureau reported Friday that consumers spent at a much faster pace than expected in September. Retail sales for the month rose by 0.7%, against the Dow Jones estimate for a decrease of 0.2%. Excluding automotive-related sales, the spending rose 0.8%, better than the 0.5% forecast. Compared to a year ago, sales soared 13.9% for the headline number and 15.6% excluding autos. Andrew Hunter, senior economist at Capital Economics, said: "Services spending may see some renewed strength over the next couple of months, as virus cases continue to drop back. But with goods shortages likely to persist, and the resulting surge in prices eating into real incomes, we expect consumption growth to remain subdued." Sporting goods, music, and book stores led with a 3.7% sales increase. General merchandise climbed 2%, and miscellaneous retailers rose 1.8%. Spending at fuel stations rose 1.8%, for a 38.2% surge over the last year. Food and beverage spending rose 0.7%, and online sales increased 0.6%, and auto sales rose 0.5% despite inventory issues.

Bitcoin Tops $60,000 on ETF Hopes

The price of Bitcoin (BTC) rose above $60,000 Friday morning, pushing it further toward the all-time high, as traders bet that US regulators will finally approve the first ever Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF). The world's largest crypto asset soared as high as 4% to $60,314, reaching the highest level since April 18. Then the price pulled back slightly below $60,000. Analysts believe that investors are optimistic about the chances of the Securities and Exchange Commission clearing the first Bitcoin futures ETF. The new ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF is slated to debut at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, though the SEC can object to the filing as late as midnight Monday. Approval of an ETF that gives mainstream investors easy exposure to Bitcoin would be a landmark for the crypto industry. Also, the price of Ether (ETH) rose 1%, but XRP and Cardano (ADA) both slipped about 2%.

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