Merck (MRK) – The drugmaker announced the acquisition of privately held Themis, whose Covid-19 vaccine candidate is approaching human trials. It is also striking a vaccine partnership with non-profit vaccine researcher IAVI, as well as a collaboration with privately held Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to develop an antiviral treatment for Covid-19 patients.
Novavax (NVAX) – Novavax announced the launch of human trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in Australia, with the Maryland-based drugmaker expecting initial results from the study in July. If the trials proves successful, they will be expanded to the United States.
AutoZone (AZO) – The auto parts retailer reported quarterly earnings of $14.39 per share, compared to the $13.80 a share consensus estimate. Revenue also beat forecasts, as same-store sales fell just 1% compared to the 6.3% decline expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Hibbett Sports (HIBB) – The athletic footwear and apparel retailer earned 31 cents per share for its latest quarter, beating the consensus estimate of 19 cents a share. Revenue also topped forecasts. Comparable-store sales tumbled 19.5% amid the coronavirus outbreak, but that was smaller than the 34% drop expected by analysts who were surveyed by Refinitiv. E-commerce sales more than doubled during the quarter compared to a year earlier.
Hertz (HTZ) – Hertz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after talks with creditors proved unsuccessful. The car rental company's business has been impacted severely by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gilead Sciences (GILD) – Gilead's drug remdesivir is effective at helping Covid-19 patients recover more quickly, according to peer-reviewed data published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Recovery time was cut by nearly a third – or about four days – compared to patients given a placebo.
Molson Coors (TAP) – Molson Coors is furloughing an unspecified number of employees in North America and in Europe, and the beer brewer is also suspending its quarterly dividend as it looks to conserve cash. Molson Coors has seen its business take a hit from pandemic-related closures of restaurants and bars.
Crocs (CROX) – The maker of plastic foam shoes saw sales jump 14% in March compared to a year earlier. According to NPD data cited by The Wall Street Journal, it was the only one of the top 30 footwear brands tracked by NPD to show a sales increase during the month.
Regeneron (REGN) – Regeneron will buy back about $5 billion of its shares from French drugmaker Sanofi (SNY). Sanofi currently owns about 23.2 million shares in Regeneron, and will continue to own about 400,000 shares after the sale. The ongoing partnership between the two companies – which dates back to 2003 – will continue. Separately, Regeneron was upgraded to "overweight" from "equal weight" at Wells Fargo, which points to improved outlooks for drugs like eye drug Eylea and asthma drug Dupixent.
Take-Two Interactive (TTW) – The video game maker's stock was upgraded to "outperform" from "market perform" at BMO Capital, which sees tailwinds from consumers staying at home continuing to benefit the video game industry.
Williams-Sonoma (WSM) – Telsey Advisory Group upgraded the housewares retailer's stock to "outperform" from "market perform," citing the ongoing benefit from Americans sheltering in place among other positive factors.