May 27, 2024


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Big Day for Q2 Earnings, U.S. Spends $1.95B on Pfizer Drug

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

We see a reversal in the main stock indexes this morning from what we saw at yesterday afternoon’s close: the Nasdaq is now up while the Dow and S&P 500 are both down — all relatively marginally, considering the higher volatility we’ve gotten used to over the past several months. The Nasdaq still toys on a near-daily basis with new all-time highs, while both the Dow and S&P 500 have performed admirably since the big downturn this past winter, but not yet where they were at the start of the year.

Q2 earnings season really hits the accelerator today; it’s the single-biggest day of earnings reports for the quarter so far. Big names such as Tesla TSLA, Microsoft MSFT, Chipotle CMG and many others report after today’s closing bell. While bad news has already been absorbed — sometimes ignored — by the market, investors look for brighter days in the coming quarters.

When Tesla does report this afternoon, for example, it will have much to live up to. The stock has gained 268% since the start of 2020, with the biggest ramp-up of the year happening recently, upon the electric car giant posting Q2 deliveries far better than expected. Tesla is now enjoying the rare air of a $300+ billion market cap, even as the company expects to post a loss of 49 cents in its most recent quarter, with revenues down 22% from a year ago.

Also, when Tesla beats earnings expectations, it tends to beat big: over the last 4 quarters, the average in positive surprise is a whopping 482%! This includes the year-ago quarter’s -107% negative surprise — suggesting that when Tesla misses, it misses big too. In fact, over the past 14 quarters, Tesla has failed to meet analyst expectations 7 times. Today’s report should be interesting, to say the least.

This morning, the U.S. government has announced an unprecedented purchase of the Pfizer PFE and BioNTech BNTX COVID-19 vaccine — 100 million doses for $1.95 billion. This deal also includes an option for the government to purchase an additional 500 million doses. The doses would then be offered to U.S. citizens at no cost.

Considering the trillions of dollars in relief during the lockdown period, however, a mere $2 billion does not promote sticker shock. But what’s important to understand is that this vaccine is merely a candidate — it has yet to prove safe and effective to the satisfaction of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), including the all-important phase 3 testing, which would bring a large sample of patients to the test. What the government deal does is fast-track the development and distribution of the candidate, should it meet FDA approval.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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