Market Overview

Mid-Afternoon Market Update: Dow Falls 550 Points; BIO-key Shares Spike Higher

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Toward the end of trading Friday, the Dow traded down 2.44% to 22000.99 while the NASDAQ fell 2.10% to 7633.74. The S&P also fell, dropping 2.01% to 2,577.18.

The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed those in China and Italy. U.S. reported a total of 85,900 coronavirus cases with around 1,290 deaths. Italy reported a total of at least 80,500 confirmed cases and 8,200 deaths, while Spain confirmed a total of over 57,700 coronavirus cases. Mainland China reported 55 new cases on Thursday. In total, there are at least 542,700 cases of COVID-19 worldwide with over 24,300 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Utilities shares rose 0.8% on Friday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Cadiz Inc. (NASDAQ: CDZI), up 12%, and NorthWestern Corporation (NYSE: NWE), up 5%.

In trading on Friday, energy shares dipped 5.8%.

Top Headline

GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) reported upbeat earnings for its fourth quarter, while sales missed views. The company also suspended its annual guidance on Thursday.

GameStop reported quarterly earnings of $1.27 per share on Thursday, which beat the analyst consensus estimate of 79 cents. The company reported quarterly sales of $2.194 billion, which missed the analyst consensus estimate of $2.24 billion.

Fourth-quarter comparable store sales were down 26.1% year over year.

Equities Trading UP

SmileDirectClub, Inc. (NASDAQ: SDC) shares shot up 18% to $5.73 after the company announced it's now producing medical-grade face shields for health care workers amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Shares of BIO-key International, Inc. (NASDAQ: BKYI) got a boost, shooting 170% to $1.48 after the company was awarded a $45 million contract for its biometric software and hardware solutions. The contract involves building an e-commerce infrastructure across Nigeria to support the creation of employment for 1 million people.

Eton Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ETON) shares were also up, gaining 23% to $4.09 after the company reported the purchase of US marketing rights to pediatric orphan drug Alkindi Sprinkle.

Equities Trading DOWN

Arbutus Biopharma Corporation (NASDAQ: ABUS) shares tumbled 46% to $1.21. Arbutus Biopharma announced positive preliminary results from a Phase 1a/1b clinical study of its RNAi therapy AB-729 in healthy subjects and two cohorts of chronic hepatitis B subjects on nucleos(t)ide antiviral therapy. The study was meant to determine the most effective dose and dosing interval for use in future Phase 2 combination clinical trials.

Shares of Roadrunner Transportation Systems, Inc. (NYSE: RRTS) were down 28% to $5.02 after the company announced plans to voluntarily withdraw from NYSE and deregister with the SEC.

BGC Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: BGCP) was down, falling 27% to $2.3850 after Raymond James downgraded the stock from Strong Buy to Market Perform.

Commodities

In commodity news, oil traded down 6.4% to $21.15, while gold traded down 1.7% to $1,622.40.

Silver traded down 0.8% Friday to $14.555, while copper fell 0.3% to $2.172.

Euro zone

European shares closed lower today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 fell 3.26% the Spanish Ibex Index fell 3.63%, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index fell 3.15%. Meanwhile, the German DAX dropped 3.68%, and the French CAC 40 fell 4.23% while UK shares fell 5.25%.

Economics

U.S. personal spending increased 0.2% month-over-month in February, while personal income rose by 0.6%.

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment fell to 89.1 in March, versus a reading of 101.0 in February.

The total number of active U.S. oil rigs slipped by 40 to 624 rigs this week, Baker Hughes Inc reported.

 

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