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Thursday’s Pre-Market: Here’s What You Need To Know Before The Market Opens

After a sharp sell-off in the previous session, U.S. stock futures pointed to more losses on Thursday. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 100 points, and futures tied to the S&P 500 fell 0.1%. Nasdaq 100 futures posted a gain of 0.3%.  

In earnings news, shares of ServiceNow rose 2.5% in pre-market trading following the IT cloud company’s top and bottom line beats. Q3 non-GAAP EPS landed at $1.21, beating the Street’s call by $0.18. Revenue of $1.14 billion exceeded the consensus estimate by $30 million. In response to the print, RBC Capital’s Alex Zukin commented, “Management’s positive commentary on the Q4 pipeline aligns with our partner checks coming into the quarter while the company is seeing greater sales efficiency and a better pipeline coverage ratio going into next year than this time last year.”  

Meanwhile, Amgen reported that its top line surged 12% in the third quarter to $6.4 billion, primarily due to an 18% increase in drug sales volume. Adjusted EPS of $4.37, which reflects a 19% increase, came in ahead of the consensus estimate by $0.59. Based on these results, the company lifted its full-year 2020 adjusted EPS guidance range to $15.80-$16.15, from $15.10-$15.75. Despite the stronger-than-expected performance, Mizuho Securities analyst Salim Syed reiterated a Hold rating and $215 price target, noting, “in all cases there was some ‘sales deductions’ that either helped or hurt numbers, so have to consider the quality here a bit.” 

Visa, on the other hand, didn’t fare as well in its most recent quarter, with its Q4 revenue of $5.1 billion reflecting a 17% year-over-year decline due to a COVID-induced drop in cross-border volumes. Total cross-border payment volume tumbled 29% year-over-year on a constant currency basis. In reaction to the earnings release, shares slumped 4.8%. 

Shares of UPS plummeted 8% despite strong top line growth in Q3 driven by demand for e-commerce deliveries. Rising 15.9% year-over-year, revenue of $21.24 billion beat the consensus estimate of $20.19 billion. However, adjusted operating margin for the Domestic Package segment disappointed as it experienced a decline of 220 basis points year-over-year, as a result of an increase in residential deliveries. Arguing that it’s difficult for the company to “bend the cost curve” in its U.S. business, Cowen analyst Helane Becker reiterated her Hold rating following the earnings release. 

In terms of updates from the healthcare sector, Sanofi announced its collaboration with Merck on a Phase 2 clinical trial to evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics and preliminary efficacy of THOR-707, a highly differentiated non-alpha IL-2 candidate, combined with or in sequenced administration with Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in patients with various types of cancer. Sanofi’s Peter Adamson told investors, “This collaboration will enable us to explore whether THOR-707 can increase and expand the effectiveness of Keytruda and improve the outcomes for patients with cancer.” 

On the corona front, Gilead trimmed its 2020 guidance given the pandemic’s progression and the uncertainty in projecting sales of its COVID-19 treatment, remdesivir. Originally guiding for full year revenue of between $23 billion to $25 billion, it now expects to see revenue of between $23 billion to $23.5 billion. According to management, remdesivir is being sold in a “highly dynamic and complex global health environment, which continues to evolve. As a result, revenue is subject to significant volatility and uncertainty.”  

Additionally, Eli Lilly has inked a $375 million agreement with the U.S. government to supply 300,000 doses of bamlanivimab (LY-CoV555), its experimental neutralizing antibody for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. As per the terms of the agreement, the U.S. government will receive the vials of the therapy once it has been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA. The announcement sent shares over 1% higher in pre-market trading on Thursday.  

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