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Chevron Is Buying Noble Energy In Largest U.S. Energy Deal So Far This Year

Jul. 20, 2020 3:46 PM ET
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  • Stocks were mixed to start Monday with the Dow losing 54 points, or 0.2%.
  • The S&P 500 rose 0.3%, while the Nasdaq gained 1.2%.
  • Shares of Blink Charging got a boost last week following its announcement that it has deployed its EV ARC electric vehicle charging infrastructure product for Envoy On Demand Electric Vehicles.

Plus, AstraZeneca said its coronavirus vaccine developed with Oxford University showed a promising immune response in an early study, airline stocks are down after TSA said air travel is down for the first time since April, and Amazon is up after two bullish upgrades.

Stocks were mixed to start Monday with the Dow losing 54 points, or 0.2%. The S&P 500 rose 0.3%, while the Nasdaq gained 1.2%.

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AstraZeneca shares were 2.6% higher at the open before falling more than -1% after new data published Monday showed promising immune response in a large, early-stage human trial of the coronavirus vaccine the pharmaceutical giant developed with Oxford University. The experimental vaccine ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 was shown to produce both antibodies and killer T-cells to combat the deadly virus in the trial with 1,000 participants. “The immune system has two ways of finding and attacking pathogens – antibody and T cell responses,” said Oxford Professor Andrew Pollard in a statement. “This vaccine is intended to induce both, so it can attack the virus when it’s circulating in the body, as well as attacking infected cells. We hope this means the immune system will remember the virus, so that our vaccine will protect people for an extended period.” Adrian Hill, head of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, said in an interview, “We are seeing very good immune responses, not just on neutralizing antibodies but of T-cells as well. We’re stimulating both arms of the immune system.” Elsewhere, shares of BioNTech and Pfizer are up after the companies reported additional data from their experimental COVID-19 vaccine that showed it was safe and induced an immune response in patients. The two companies said that data also demonstrated an induction of a high level of T-cell responses agains the virus.

In other coronavirus news, as the U.S. nears 3.8 million cases, Florida reported 12,479 new cases on Sunday, marking the sixth straight day of more than 10,000 new cases in the state as a representative says its outbreak is “totally out of control.” “The residents here are terrified and I’m terrified, for the first time in my career because there’s a lack of leadership,” said Rep. Donna Shalala, a Democrat representing Miami-Dade County, on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “It’s terrible. We have community spread, which means the virus is out of control.” In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti said he is considering another stay-at-home order for the city if cases overwhelm local hospitals. “It felt like we were maybe over half of the way there. I know we felt like we somehow had eradicated the danger of COVID-19,” Garcetti said. “We did the right thing before, and now we need to do the right thing again.” And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened to close down all bars and restaurants in the state if large gatherings continue and his social distance and mask regulations aren’t enforced. While the majority of restaurants and bar owners are complying with state orders, “the bad ones who are exploiting the situation and breaking the law are going to make it bad for everyone else,” Cuomo said this morning, while also urging local governments and police departments to “do your job.”

Airline stocks are down this morning, with American Airlines down -3.7%, Delta Air Lines down -3%, JetBlue down -3%, Southwest down nearly -4%, and United down -4.4%, after data released this morning showed that the spike in coronavirus cases in the U.S. is souring airlines’ hopes of a summer rebound that would help generate cash to weather the pandemic. The Transportation Security Administration said that for the week ended July 19, 4.65 million people passed through checkpoints at U.S. airports, a decline of more than 4% from the week prior and the first weekly percentage drop since April. “demand has stalled as the virus has grown, particularly down here in the South, across the Sun Belt, coupled with the quarantine measures that are going in places in many of the Northern states,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian last week. “Those two factors are causing consumers to pause.” Air travel demand trends will be on display again later this week when United reports quarterly results after the bell on Tuesday, and American and Southwest report before the bell on Thursday.

Chevron said today that it is buying Noble Energy in an all-stock deal worth $5 billion. The deal will bolster Chevron’s shale presence as a plunge in crude prices has made assets cheaper, and will expand Chevron’s oil and gas reserves by 18%. The deal is the largest in the U.S. energy sector this year and comes more than a year after Chevron abandoned its offer for Anadarko Petroleum when it was outmaneuvered by Occidental Petroleum. “Chevron [is] taking advantage of its strong relative performance versus the U.S. exploration and production companies and capitalizing on the downturn to buy into some high-quality assets,” said Anish Kapadia, head of London-based independent oil and mining advisory Palissy Advisors. However, the economics of the deal could still change, with some analysts thinking other bidders may step in to put an offer on Noble. “Given the small premium, we would not be shocked to see additional bids from the other majors, although Chevron has always topped the list of who could buy Noble,” said SunTrust Robinson Humphreys analyst Welles Fitzpatrick.

And Amazon shares are up nearly 6% this morning following a pair of bullish analyst notes. Goldman Sachs analyst Heather Bellini reiterated her Buy rating on the stock and boosted her price target to a Street high of $3,800 – 21% higher than the price as of this writing. Bellini raised her revenue outlook for Amazon and said she sees the company’s North American e-commerce revenue up 48% in the June quarter, which Amazon will report on on July 30. And MKM analyst Rohit Kulkarni reiterated his Buy rating on the stock, while upping his price target from $2,525 to $3,350. “As the pandemic has accelerated the shift toward online shopping and toward cloud computing, we believe Amazon is the single best beneficiary from these secular trends over the next several years,” Kulkarni wrote in a note. “Amazon has been the best performing mega cap this year, and recently, bearish investors have highlighted several arguments to us recently, and think that ‘good news worth several quarters is priced in now.’ …We believe it is a risky proposition to bet against Amazon, however, we wouldn’t be surprised if near-term focused investors are looking to step to the sidelines ahead of earnings.”

Stocks We’re Watching

Blink Charging Co (NASDAQ: BLNKW): Shares of Blink Charging got a boost last week following its announcement that it has deployed its EV ARC electric vehicle charging infrastructure product for Envoy On Demand Electric Vehicles in Los Angeles County. “Envoy’s commitment to EVs and car sharing fits perfectly with our mission to enable clean mobility for all,” said Envision Solar’s CEO, Desmond Wheatley. “Recently we have also seen Lyft’s commitment to a 100% emissions free fleet by 2030. It’s clear that car sharing, ride sharing and autonomous vehicle providers will all be electric in the future. They will need rapidly deployed, highly scalable EV charging infrastructure and a predictable cost model around electricity. The EV ARC is the fastest deployed, most scalable, transportable yet permanent, EV charging infrastructure solution available and the commodity cost for the energy is zero. It’s a perfect fit for the rapidly growing space of shared vehicles.”

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