Tuesday’s Pre-Market: Here’s What You Need to Know Before the Market Opens

U.S. stock futures were trending higher on Tuesday ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) two-day policy meeting. Notably, investors await data related to the U.S. industrial production, producer prices, and retail sales, to be released today.

Dow futures remain relatively flat, while Nasdaq and S&P futures had gained about 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively, at the time of writing.

Qudian Inc (QD) is expected to report earnings before the market opens, while Anterix (ATEX), Azure Power Global (AZRE), and Oracle (ORCL) are expected to report after the market close.

Torchlight Energy Resources (TRCH) was the most actively traded stock in pre-market trading, with 7.7 million shares having changed hands at the time of writing. Recently, the oil and gas exploration company announced a special dividend of Series A Preferred Stock, which will be issued on a one-for-one basis to common stockholders of record as on June 24, 2021. This special dividend is declared in relation to the previously announced business combination transaction with Metamaterial, Inc., which recently received shareholders’ approval.

Clearside Biomedical (CLSD) was the biggest gainer in pre-market trading as the stock rose 50% at the time of writing. Recently, the biopharmaceutical company came out with positive safety results of Cohort 1 of OASIS. This is the company’s ongoing Phase 1/2a clinical trial of CLS-AX, which is administered by suprachoroidal injection via Clearside’s SCS Microinjector in six patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD).

Clearside Chief Medical Officer commented, “We are very encouraged by the Cohort 1 results of the OASIS trial and we are immediately beginning Cohort 2 enrollment as planned. The initial data from Cohort 1 clearly achieved our safety and tolerability endpoints. While still early and recognizing there are a limited number of patients, we believe the Cohort 1 data supports our hypothesis that the combination of targeted and compartmentalized suprachoroidal delivery and the potent pan-VEGF attributes of axitinib may facilitate an effective treatment option for patients suffering from wet AMD.”

Document Security Systems (DSS) was the biggest laggard in pre-market trading, as the stock dropped around 40.9% at the time of writing. Recently, the packaging and security printing solutions provider announced the pricing of an underwritten common stock public offering of 29 million shares at a price of $1.50 per share.

The gross proceeds of the offering are likely to be $43.5 million, excluding underwriting discounts and commissions, and other costs. These proceeds are expected to be channeled into growth, development, opportunistic acquisitions, and other general corporate needs.

Notably, the underwriters have been granted a 45-day option to purchase up to an additional 15% of shares of common stock offered to cover over-allotments, if any. This option, if exercised in full, is anticipated to enhance the total gross proceeds of the offering to around $50 million.

In M&A news, Accenture (ACN), the global professional services company, has revealed the acquisition of umlaut, an engineering consulting and services firm. The acquisition will strengthen the company’s Industry X capabilities. The terms of the deal have been kept under wraps.

A rise in demand for digital technologies like cloud, artificial intelligence, and 5G was recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the buyout will enable Accenture to meet the growing demand of its clients by offering them enhanced services and helping them to adopt digital techniques in a better and easier way. Furthermore, Accenture’s Industry X design, innovation, and product development capacities will be boosted, and that will help companies address the shift to digitalization.

Accenture CEO Julie Sweet said, “We predicted that digital would ultimately be applied at scale to the core of a company’s business – the design, engineering and manufacturing of their products. And, for nearly a decade Accenture has been building the unique capabilities and ecosystem partnerships to combine the power of digital with traditional engineering services.”

In other news, GE Aviation, a unit of multinational conglomerate General Electric Company (GE), together with Safran, revealed a program named CFM RISE (Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines), which targets to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by more than 20%, facilitated by open blade engines.

GE Aviation is a global provider of jet engines, components, and systems for commercial and military aircraft, while Safran is an international high-technology group operating in the aviation (propulsion, equipment, and interiors), defense, and space markets.

Through this program, a range of new and disruptive technologies will be established for future engines, which are expected to enter service by the mid-2030s. Furthermore, the technology developed under RISE will be 100% compatible with alternate energy sources such as Sustainable Aviation Fuels and hydrogen.

GE Aviation CEO John Slattery commented, “Together, through the RISE technology demonstration program, we are reinventing the future of flight, bringing an advanced suite of revolutionary technologies to market that will take the next generation of single-aisle aircraft to a new level of fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.”

Meanwhile, Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE), the provider of renewable natural gas (RNG) for the transportation industry, announced its plans to invest in the development of renewable natural gas (RNG) from dairies and other agricultural facilities. The investments will be made both independently and with partners TotalEnergies (TOT) and BP plc (BP).

Clean Energy CEO Andrew J. Littlefair said, “Clean Energy’s business has pivoted to focus on an extraordinary renewable, non-fossil fuel that can actually reduce fleets’ carbon footprint by as much as 500. The logo, color scheme, messaging, website and other brand elements that we introduced today denote a circular economy, where organic waste is turned into sustainable fuel, and embodies the role Clean Energy plays in helping our planet.”

The global investment bank and financial services holding company Bank of America (BAC) opened its first three financial centers in Kentucky and revealed its plans to add more centers in the future, with a fourth financial center coming in Lexington next year. The opening of three centers in Lexington will offer retail banking, lending and small business services, and investing and personalized financial guidance to local clients.

Bank of America’s regional executive for expansion markets Felicia Lewis said, “Bank of America has been serving clients in Kentucky for over 40 years through Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, lending to and supporting the growth of local businesses, and through active involvement in the communities we serve. Our new financial centers enable us to deliver high-tech, high-touch service and a full range of capabilities that can help to further enhance the financial lives of our clients.”

Moderna, Inc. (MRNA) has submitted an application to Swissmedic for the authorized use of its COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents in Switzerland. Last week, an application for emergency use authorization (EUA) with the FDA was also submitted by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology company to administer the vaccine to adolescents in the United States.

In May, the company announced that the Phase 2/3 TeenCOVE study of its COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273) met its primary immunogenicity endpoint in adolescents. The study showed no cases of COVID-19 infection in individuals administered with two doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, using the primary definition. Furthermore, the vaccine represented an efficacy of 93% in seronegative participants 14 days after receiving the first dose, when using the secondary CDC case definition of COVID-19, which tested for the milder disease.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel commented, “We are pleased to announce that we have submitted an authorization application for our COVID-19 vaccine with Swissmedic for use in adolescents in Switzerland. We are encouraged that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was highly effective at preventing COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 infection in adolescents. We have already filed for authorization with the U.S. FDA, Health Canada and the European Medicines Agency and we will continue to file with regulatory agencies around the world for this important younger age population. We remain focused on helping to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”