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Amgen Soars as Weight-Loss Drug Shows Promise

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Key Takeaways

  • The S&P 500 jumped 1.3% on Friday, May 3, 2024, as the latest jobs report showed a cooling labor market, revitalizing hopes for a near-term interest rate cut.
  • Amgen shares took off amid optimism about MariTide, the biotech firm’s experimental anti-obesity drug.
  • Expedia shares dropped after the firm lowered its full-year guidance, citing weakness at vacation rental platform Vrbo and its business-to-consumer segment.

Major U.S. equities indexes notched solid gains after the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed a slowdown in hiring and wage growth in April along with an uptick in the unemployment rate.

The cooler labor market provides a positive data point for investors looking for confirmation that inflation has been brought under control enough for the Federal Reserve to begin lowering interest rates over the coming months.

The S&P 500 jumped 1.3% on Friday. A strong earnings report from Apple (AAPL) underpinned outperformance in the tech sector, helping lift the Nasdaq 2.0%. The Dow was up 1.2%.

Amgen Leads S&P 500 on Weight Loss Drug Optimism

Amgen (AMGN) shares led the S&P 500 higher, popping 11.8% amid optimism about its experimental weight-loss drug MariTide.

As Amgen aims to compete with massively successful anti-obesity drugs from other companies, its CEO stressed MariTide’s profile is differentiated enough to meet unfulfilled medical needs. William Blair analysts cited the drug’s potential while upgrading Amgen stock to “outperform” on Friday.

GE Verona Pops on Potential Moroccan Project

Shares of GE Vernova (GEV), the energy company that completed its separation last month from the General Electric conglomerate, added 8.1%.

The gains came amid reports that GE Vernova was joining with Africa Finance Corporation and other investors to finance a massive renewable energy project in Morocco.

Enphase Energy Recovers From Last Week’s Losses

Enphase Energy (ENPH) shares gained 7.7%, reversing a portion of the losses posted last week after the solar technology firm reported soft quarterly results and issued underwhelming guidance.

Although the downbeat outlook reflects persistent challenges in the solar sector, Enphase announced Friday it is seeing increased deployments of its energy systems in Florida as homeowners prepare for an active hurricane season.

Live Nation Up On Live Event Demand

Shares of Live Nation Entertainment (LYV) advanced 7.2% after the event promotion and ticketing firm posted better-than-expected first-quarter revenue. The Ticketmaster parent company benefitted from high ticket prices as well as robust demand for concerts and other live events.

Expedia Tumbles on Lower Guidance

Expedia Group (EXPE) shares posted the heaviest losses among S&P 500 stocks, plunging 15.3% after the travel booking provider lowered its full-year guidance.

Weakness from Expedia’s vacation rental platform Vrbo and its business-to-consumer segment contributed to the lackluster outlook.

Fortinet Stumbles on Lackluster Billings

Cybersecurity firm Fortinet (FTNT) topped first-quarter revenue and earnings estimates, but its billings dropped from the year-ago period and fell short of forecasts. That sent shares of the company down, tumbling 9.7%.

Slower growth in the firewall market dragged on Fortinet’s results, with companies spending less for on-site data center equipment as they move more applications onto cloud platforms.

Paramount Global Volatile Amid Acquisition Talks

Paramount Global (PARA) shares fell 7.0% amid reports that exclusive merger talks with production company Skydance Media have stalled.

The plunge in Paramount stock marked a reversal from strong gains posted in the previous session after Sony Pictures and Apollo Global Management entered a joint bid to buy the entertainment giant. However, the probability of that deal coming to fruition also remains uncertain.

GPS Software Provider Trimble Fell on Soft Guidance

Shares of Trimble (TRMB) dropped 7.0% after the provider of GPS software and analytics issued lower-than-expected sales and profit guidance for the current quarter.

Trimble faces pressure from high input costs and elevated interest rates leading customers to rein in their spending, dragging on its field systems and software divisions.

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