Market Overview

Mid-Afternoon Market Update: Dow Falls 1.5%; Pfenex Shares Plummet


Toward the end of trading Wednesday, the Dow traded down 1.5% to 23589.88 while the NASDAQ fell 0.98% to 8,432.13. The S&P also fell, dropping 1.78% to 2,795.28.

The U.S. is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic with the highest number of cases and deaths around the world. U.S. reported a total of 609,680 coronavirus cases with around 26,050 deaths. Spain confirmed a total of over 177,630 coronavirus cases with 18,570 deaths, while Italy reported a total of at least 162,480 confirmed cases and 21,060 deaths. In total, there were at least 1,997,320 cases of COVID-19 worldwide with over 127,600 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Health care shares slipped by just 0.8% on Wednesday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: PSTI), up 18%, and Liquidia Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: LQDA), up 15%.

In trading on Wednesday, energy shares dipped 5.9%.

Top Headline

Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC) reported weaker-than-expected earnings for its first quarter, while sales exceeded views.

Bank of America posted quarterly earnings of $0.40 per share, missing analysts’ estimates of $0.48 per share. Its sales came in at $22.80 billion, exceeding expectations of $22.76 billion.

Equities Trading UP

ShiftPixy, Inc. (NASDAQ: PIXY) shares shot up 53% to $7.66 following recent press release highlighting company’s efforts to work with restaurants across the US to deploy current staff as delivery drivers.

Shares of Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: APDN) got a boost, shooting 28% to $5.83. Applied DNA Sciences said it has completed design, qualification, production and shipment of five COVID-19 vaccine candidates to Italy-based Takis Biotech to start preclinical testing immediately. The vaccine candidates, according to the company, were produced by its proprietary PCR-based Linear DNA manufacturing systems.

Lifeway Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ: LWAY) shares were also up, gaining 25% to $2.23. Lifeway Foods said it expects sales to rise 2% to 4% year-over-year in Q1.

Equities Trading DOWN

Covanta Holding Corporation (NYSE: CVA) shares tumbled 15% to $7.41 after the company lowered its quarterly dividend and withdrew its FY20 guidance. Stifel downgraded Covanta from Buy to Sell and lowered the price target from $17.5 to $6.5.

Shares of Pfenex Inc. (NYSE: PFNX) were down 31% to $6.16. Pfenex said the FDA informed its commercialization partner Alvogen Malta Operations through a General Advice letter, additional comparative use human factors data, especially from Forteo experienced users, would be required before PF708 Therapeutic Equivalence could be determined.

Top Ships Inc. (NASDAQ: TOPS) was down, falling 22% to $0.2195 after the company priced its common stock offering at $0.18 per share.


In commodity news, oil traded up 1.1% to $20.34, while gold traded down 1.6% to $1,741.40.

Silver traded down 3.8% Wednesday to $15.515, while copper fell 1.5% to $2.2945.

Euro zone

European shares closed lower today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 fell 3.25%, the Spanish Ibex Index fell 3.79%, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index fell 4.78%. Meanwhile, the German DAX dropped 3.90%, and the French CAC 40 fell 3.76% while UK shares fell 3.34%.


U.S. retail sales dropped 8.7% in March, versus a revised 0.4% decline in February.

The New York Empire State manufacturing index dipped 56.7 points to a reading of -78.2 in April.

U.S. industrial production dropped 5.4% in March, versus market estimates of a 4% decline.

U.S. business inventories declined 0.4% in February, versus a revised 0.3% fall in January.

The NAHB housing market index declined to 30 in April, missing analysts’ expectations of 55.

Domestic crude supplies climbed 19.2 million barrels for the week ended April 10, the Energy Information Administration reported. However, analysts were expecting a gain of 10.1 million barrels. Gasoline supplies climbed 4.9 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles rose 6.3 million barrels.

The Treasury International Capital report for February will be released at 4:00 p.m. ET.


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