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Moderna Just Dosed Its First Patients In Its Phase 3 Coronavirus Vaccine Trial

Jul. 27, 2020 2:58 PM ET
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  • Stocks were higher to start Monday with the Dow adding 104 points, or 0.4%.
  • The S&P 500 edged up 0.5%, while the Nasdaq gained 1.2%.
  • ChannelAdvisors shares gained as much as 47.7% on Friday after cloud-based e-commerce solutions company announced preliminary second quarter financial results.

Plus, Republicans are expected to release the details of their coronavirus relief bill today, Hasbro shares are down after a 29% drop in revenue in the second quarter, and Target will be closed on Thanksgiving.

Stocks were higher to start Monday with the Dow adding 104 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 edged up 0.5%, while the Nasdaq gained 1.2%.

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Moderna shares are up more than 9% this morning following its announcement that it has received an additional $472 million from the U.S. government to support the development of its coronavirus vaccine. The additional funding will support Moderna’s late-stage development of its vaccine as the company begins its phase three study. The late stage phase three trial will include at least 30,000, and Moderna said today that it has already dosed its first participants. “We are pleased to have started the Phase 3 COVE study,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement. “We are grateful to the efforts of so many inside and outside the company to get us to this important milestone. We are indebted to the participants and investigators who now begin the work of the COVE study itself. We look forward to this trial demonstrating the potential of our vaccine to prevent COVID-19, so that we can defeat this pandemic.” Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a statement, “Results from early-stage clinical testing indicate the investigational mRNA-1273 vaccine is safe and immunogenic, supporting the initiation of a Phase 3 clinical trial.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that Republicans have finalized their coronavirus relief bill and expect to release it today. “We do have an entire plan,” Mnuchin told “Fox News Sunday. “The [Trump] administration and the Senate Republicans are completely on the same page.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to release the $1 trillion pandemic relief proposal today, though the release will be just a kicking off point with Democrats, who passed their own $3.5 trillion bill in the House in May. “We can move very quickly with the Democrats” on the issues the two sides don’t agree on, including the level of additional unemployment benefits, funding for state and local governments, and funding for the U.S. postal service, Mnuchin said. “We’ve moved quickly before and I see no reason why we can’t move quickly again. And if there are issues that take longer, we’ll deal with those as well. This will be the fifth set of legislation so there’s no reason why we can’t have number five, six and seven as we need to deal with issues,” Mnuchin added. “And obviously, anything we do we need bipartisan support.” However, Democrats have expressed opposition to such a piecemeal approach, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying the party has been “anxious to negotiate” with Republicans since they passed their bill in mid-May. “They’re in disarray and that delay is causing suffering for America’s families,” Pelosi said of the Republicans’ struggle to put together a plan. “We have been ready for two months and 10 days.”

In earnings news, Hasbro shares are down nearly -8% this morning after the toy maker said its revenue fell 29% in the second quarter given store closures, product shortages, and lower retail inventory amid the coronavirus pandemic. Hasbro posed earnings of $0.02 per share on revenue of $860.3 million, compared to analysts’ expectations for earnings of $0.23 per share on revenue of $922 million. “We believe the outlook improves from here,” said Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner in a statement. “We expect the environment to improve in the third quarter and set us up to execute a good holiday season.” Albertsons shares are down -5% today even after the grocer delivered an upbeat fiscal first quarter report. Albertsons posted adjusted earnings per share of $1.35 on revenue of $22.75 billion, compared to analysts’ estimates for earnings per share of $1.32 on revenue of $22.71 billion, while investors had been hoping for a stronger beat. The grocer said digital sales jumped 276% in the quarter and same-store sales rose 26.5%, however the company said it booked $615 million in costs related to the pandemic. This week will be a busy week for earnings, with 171 companies scheduled to report. 3M, Advanced Micro Devices, eBay, McDonald’s, Pfizer, Starbucks, and Visa all report tomorrow.

Taiwan Semiconductor shares are up nearly 12% this morning after U.S. chipmaker Intel said it faces delays for its next-generation chips and may outsource some of its production. Intel said last week that it is delaying the release of chips with 7-nanometer transistors after it found an issue in its manufacturing process. While Intel didn’t say specifically which third parties it may outsource to, analysts believe Taiwan Semiconductor is a strong contender given that it is a foundry that makes chips that other companies design, including Apple. “Chip outsourcing to foundries now is (Intel’s) contingency plan, which opens up a TAM (total addressable market) of approx. US$20bn to TSMC, and puts more fuel to the advanced foundry market already running tight,” said Szeho Ng, managing director of research at China Renaissance Securities, adding that TSMC “pretty much monopolizes the space” when it comes to the production of 7-nanometer transistors.

“Enjoy a long nap after you finish that last piece of Thanksgiving turkey.” Target joined Walmart today in saying that it will stay closed for Thanksgiving day this year given the coronavirus pandemic. “Let’s face it: Historically, deal hunting and holiday shopping can mean crowded events, and this isn’t a year for crowds,” Target said in a blog post, adding that holiday sales in stores and online will begin “earlier than ever” this year so shoppers can start on their holiday lists earlier while avoiding large crowds. “The investments we’ve made in our business and our incredible team have enabled us to move with flexibility and speed to meet guests’ changing needs during this global pandemic,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell. “This year more than ever, a joyful holiday will be inseparable from a safe one, and we’re continuing to adjust our plans to deliver ease, value and the joy of the season in a way that only Target can.”

Stocks We’re Watching

ChannelAdvisor (NYSE: ECOM): ChannelAdvisors shares gained as much as 47.7% on Friday after cloud-based e-commerce solutions company announced preliminary second quarter financial results. The company said they expect revenue to come in around $37.3 million, or $4.8 million above guidance, representing year-over-year growth of 17%. “Our second quarter results were exceptional, with record revenues and record adjusted EBITDA both substantially exceeding our original guidance for the quarter,” said David Spitz, ChannelAdvisor CEO. “Strong revenues were driven by sustained and broad-based growth in GMV as e-commerce spending remained elevated throughout the quarter, consistent with broader e-commerce trends as the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shift in consumer buying habits. Continued expense discipline and the scalability of our business model contributed to a significant improvement in profitability as well.”

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