Stocks rise, bond yields at pre-pandemic high
NEW YORK — Tech companies and banks helped push stocks higher on Feb. 8 as the market rebounded from an early plunge to more than offset its losses the day before.
The S&P 500 rose 0.8% after falling 0.4%, and more than three-quarters of stocks in the benchmark index posted gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1% and the Nasdaq composite 1.3%.
Bond yields rose, taking the 10-year Treasury yield to the highest level since before the pandemic began.
The indices were all down at the start of the session, but turned significantly higher around mid-morning. This reversal gained momentum after the S&P 500 broke above 4,500, an important “resistance level”, something traders watch for when trying to guess which direction a stock or index will move next. .
“Maybe today was more of a technical decision as the market broke through this important resistance level,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.
iPhone touch payment function to be upgraded
NEW YORK — Apple announced on Tuesday that it is expanding iPhone’s capabilities to accept contactless payments, making it easier for merchants to complete tap-to-pay transactions without having to purchase additional hardware.
It will also give Apple a competitive advantage in the growing world of contactless payments, in which the iPhone, along with Apple Pay, plays a dominant role.
The iPhone has been used as a contactless payment method for goods and services since the launch of Apple Pay in 2014. But merchants needed their own point-of-sale hardware to accept these payments. The price of these devices ranged from $50 to hundreds of dollars.
Now the iPhone will be able to act as a payment terminal itself, without any additional hardware, Apple said.
“A lot of times our contactless reader has issues or is finicky, so it would be great to offer this new way of paying as a fallback and not have to buy new hardware to do it,” Mimi said. Striplin, owner of The Tiny Tassel, a jewelry store. store in Charleston.
The feature will only be available on iPhone XS or later models and will not be available on iPads.
Vaccine sales at Pfizer are muted
NEW YORK — Sales of COVID-19 vaccines boosted Pfizer’s earnings well above expectations in the fourth quarter, but the drugmaker is setting a lower-than-expected bar for 2022.
Pfizer released full-year earnings and revenue forecasts on Feb. 8 that fell short of expectations, even as the drugmaker expects another strong year of sales for its vaccine, Comirnaty, and its new drug. coronavirus treatment, Paxlovid.
Pfizer expects Comirnaty to make an additional $32 billion in revenue in 2022, while Wall Street is looking for more than $34 billion. The company and analysts expect an additional $22 billion in revenue from Paxlovid, which received US regulatory approval before Christmas.
Overall, Pfizer expects adjusted earnings in the new year to be between $6.35 and $6.55 per share on revenue of $98 billion to $102 billion. Industry analysts forecast earnings of $6.71 per share on $103.18 billion in revenue.
Pfizer’s two-shot coronavirus vaccine brought in $36.78 billion in revenue in 2021, its first full year on the market. The $12.5 billion in sales it recorded in the fourth quarter helped Pfizer’s revenue double from the last quarter of 2020.
The COVID-19 vaccine became Pfizer’s top-selling product in the second quarter of last year, before children started getting the preventative shots and adults started getting booster doses.
The drugmaker accounts for the vast majority of Comirnaty’s revenue and shares profits, as well as the cost of manufacturing and distributing the vaccine, with its development partner BioNTech.
BP’s net rises as UK energy bills soar
LONDON — BP PLC announced its biggest annual net profit in eight years on February 8, its coffers swelled by soaring oil and gas prices that have driven up household fuel bills for millions.
The British energy giant said its underlying replacement cost profit – the industry norm – was $12.8 billion for 2021, compared with losses of $5.7 billion l ‘last year. The figure includes a better-than-expected profit of $4.07 billion last quarter.
The company said it will reward shareholders with a $1.5 billion share buyback program ahead of its first quarter 2022 results and a fourth quarter dividend payout of 5.46 cents per share.
BP’s big profits came as British households and businesses grappled with runaway inflation and rising energy bills. Britain’s energy regulator announced last week that gas and electricity prices for households would rise by 54% in April. UK opposition parties have called for a windfall tax on energy companies, something the Conservative government has so far ruled out.
Electric vehicle charging company to build plant in Tennessee
LEBANON, Tennessee — An Australian electric vehicle charging company will establish its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Tennessee, state and company officials announced Feb. 8.
Tritium is expected to produce up to 30,000 electric vehicle chargers a year and create 500 new jobs over the next five years in Lebanon, about 30 miles east of Nashville.
President Joe Biden presented the project to Tritium officials at the White House.
The announcement also comes after Ford Motor Co. last year unveiled plans to build an electric vehicle and battery plant near Memphis.
SoftBank drops deal with Nvidia, plans IPO
TOKYO — SoftBank’s planned sale of British semiconductor and software design firm Arm to U.S. chipmaker Nvidia fell through, but the Japanese tech investor immediately showed optimism by going public.
SoftBank Group Corp. said on Feb. 8 that it was planning an initial public offering for Arm after the planned sale fell through due to regulatory issues. He said the IPO would come in the fiscal year ending March 2023.
CEO Masayoshi Son admitted he was disappointed but wasted no time in moving on to an aggressive sales pitch for Arm in its preparation for a U.S. IPO, likely on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
He said a “golden age” was coming because of Arm’s “architecture” or semiconductor technology, already widely used in cellphones and adapted by internet giants like Amazon. Son said even greater growth will come as the world shifts to electric vehicles because Arm products are energy efficient.
Arm’s earlier faltering results were simply due to a heavy investment in hiring the engineers needed to sustain such innovations, Son said.
Son said he was calling on new leaders to give Arm a fresh start.
Hyundai and Kia recall interior fire hazard
DETROIT — Hyundai and Kia are telling owners of nearly 485,000 vehicles in the United States to park them outside because they can catch fire even if the engines have been turned off.
The recalls from the two Korean automakers add to a long string of fire and engine failure issues. This time the problem is contamination in the anti-lock brake control module which can cause a short circuit.
This applies to certain Kia Sportage SUVs from 2014-2016 and the K900 sedan from 2016-2018. The recalled Hyundais include certain 2016-2018 Santa Fe SUVs, 2017-2018 Santa Fe Sports, 2019 Santa Fe XL and 2014-2015 Tucson SUVs. Automakers have 11 reports of fires in the United States, but no injuries.
Documents released Feb. 8 by U.S. security authorities say owners must park vehicles outside and away from structures until repairs are made.
Dealers will replace a fuse. In addition, Hyundai dealers will inspect control modules and replace them if necessary. Kia and Hyundai and Kia owners will be notified starting March 31 and April 5, respectively.
AmEx will offer to verify with rewards
NEW YORK — American Express launched its own checking account product Feb. 8, one that will allow customers to earn its popular Membership Rewards points the same way they do on its credit and charge cards.
It’s a notable move for AmEx and the banking industry in general, since checking accounts that offered airline miles or rewards all but disappeared after the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act in the wake of the Great Recession.
The AmEx account will come with a debit card and an annual interest rate of 0.5%. The card will give account holders one loyalty point for every $2 spent on purchases. These points can be bundled with Membership Reward points that the cardholder might already earn on a credit card.
The checking account will currently only be available to current AmEx credit card holders, the company said.
The debit card will work on the MoneyPass ATM network to allow fee-free withdrawals at eligible ATMs. There will be no monthly maintenance fees. Accounts will also not allow a customer to have a negative account balance.