Wall Street’s main stock indexes rallied, as bond yields eased and the US House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package boosting investor appetite for riskier assets.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.5% and the S&P 500 Index increased 2.3%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average appreciated 2.1%. Among the biggest movers were Apple, which added 4.2% and Boeing with a 5.3% advance. Shares of Zoom Video jumped 8.5% ahead of its earnings results.
In corporate news, Berkshire Hathaway’s class B shares rose 3.7% after Warren Buffett unveiled that the investment conglomerate bought back a stellar $24.7 billion of its own stock in 2020. Berkshire posted a 9% year-on-year decline in 2020 operating income of $21.92 billion. Fourth quarter operating income increased 14% to $5.02 billion. Buffet admitted that the $11 billion write-down last year was due to his misguided acquisition of Precision Castparts Corp. Buffet’s “Big Four” investments currently include Berkshire’s property and casualty insurance operation, its 100% ownership of BNSF, its 5.4% stake in Apple, and Berkshire Hathaway Energy.
In deal news, Twilio jumped more than 5% after confirming a $750 million investment into Syniverse Technologies in exchange for a minority stake in the private-equity-owned messaging company. The Carlyle Group, Syniverse’s current majority owner, will maintain its majority interest. The investment by the cloud communications company was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. “Twilio’s vision is to build the world’s leading customer engagement platform. As messaging becomes a preferred way for consumers to communicate with brands, Syniverse helps remove the complexity of the interconnected telecommunications ecosystem, so Twilio can provide best-in-class messaging services to its customers globally,” said Twilio’s Chief Product Officer Chee Chew.
Digital Turbine popped more than 12% after agreeing to buy AdColony, a leading mobile advertising platform provider, from its parent, Norwegian internet company, Otello Corporation ASA. The total deal value is estimated to be between $350 million and $375 million. According to the agreement, $100 million will be payable upon deal completion and another $100 million after six months following its closure. The remaining $150-$175 million will be paid as earn-outs based on AdColony achieving certain future net revenue targets during full-year 2021.
Baidu advanced almost 4% as the Chinese tech giant clinched a collaboration deal with China Huaneng Group Co. to accelerate the power utility’s digital transformation and modernize the country’s energy industry. According to the terms of the memorandum of understanding, Baidu’s partnership with state-owned power generator China Huaneng will include an artificial intelligence-powered infrastructure to boost efficiencies and users’ experience. Specifically, the two companies will jointly develop an automated financial shared services platform, as well as apply AI and big data technologies to the energy and power field.
Atlassian climbed more than 4% after announcing the acquisition of cloud-based data visualization and analytics provider Chartio, for an undisclosed sum. “Atlassian products are home to a treasure trove of data, and our goal is to unleash the power of this data so our customers can go beyond out-of-the-box reports and truly customize analytics to meet the needs of their organization. Chartio is an important component of this vision as it will serve as our new analytics and data visualization engine across our products, starting with the Jira family,” commented Atlassian Head of Product Zoe Ghani
Meanwhile, shares of AMC Entertainment spiked more than 11% as the movie theater operator announced the approval of bonuses to its top executives. AMC’s CEO Adam Aron will receive $3.75 million as a bonus while other top executives will receive bonuses ranging from $173,875 to $507,500. The beleaguered theatre chain has 13 locations in NYC, which it plans to open on March 5 in accordance with the required cleaning protocols and 25% capacity limitations.
In healthcare news, BridgeBio Pharma rose almost 2% after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its Nulibry therapy for the treatment of Molybdenum cofactor deficiency (MoCD) Type A. MoCD is a genetic disorder that causes non-reversible neurological damage and has high death rate among infants. BridgeBio Pharma and its affiliate Origin Biosciences said that the approval was granted following Phase 3 clinical trial data, which demonstrated efficacy of the treatment in comparison to a natural history study. MoCD Type A is an ultrarare disease affecting less than 150 patients globally. It occurs after birth and the median survival rate is four years.