Stocks slid last week as rising coronavirus cases and political uncertainty continued to weigh on investor sentiment.
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U.S. cases of COVID-19 surged to 84,000 per day towards the end of last week, fueling concerns of a potential second wave of lockdowns. The numbers calmed slightly since then, but many regions are reporting higher average daily counts.
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However, it’s worth noting that the higher figures could be partly driven by expanded testing programs because fatality and hospitalization rates are significantly lower than they were earlier in the year. Testing is more widely available, so more people with less-severe and asymptomatic cases are taking tests. This is one possible explanation for rising cases and lower fatality rates.
Stimulus negotiations continue to be a major issue for the market. However, Election Day is next Tuesday, and it’s unlikely an agreement will be reached before then. Both side are playing the political game, but you can rest assured it’s over until at least November 3.
Asian stocks were mixed in the overnight trading session. The Japanese Nikkei 225 was flat, and China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.8%.
European markets are mostly in the red mid-way through the trading session. The German DAX is the biggest loser with a 2.2% slide, and the Stoxx 600 is up 0.6%.
Today’s earnings docket includes:
Hasbro [HAS], SAP [SAP], and Otis Worldwide [OTIS] before the bell.
Twilio [TWLO], NXP Semiconductors [NXPI], and Boyd Gaming [BYD]
Muscle Maker Inc. [GRIL]
Muscle Maker added one of its franchise locations in Manhattan to its corporate umbrella. The new, corporate-owned restaurant is located in the Chelsea neighborhood on 7th ave, between 14th and 15th street. The location has some of the highest sales volume of any Muscle Maker location, and it brought in more than $1.1 million in sales in 2019.
The restaurant will also serve as a ghost kitchen for Muscle Makers’ other brands, and the company says it plans to add healthier beers and wines to its menu in the future. It’s also planning to combat slowed, pandemic-era growth by placing new locations in nontraditional locations like military bases and college campuses.
GRIL is one of this morning’s most active stocks and it’s up 54.9% on news of the deal.
Lianluo Smart Ltd. [LLIT]
Lianluo Smart Limited announced Friday it will merge with privately-held Newegg Inc, an eCommerce marketplace focused primarily on technology and electronics. Newegg’s stockholders will become the majority owners of Lianluo and its subsidiaries. However, Lianluo will sell its Linluo Connection Medical Weable Device Technology Co. to another Chinese company.
“Over the course of nearly two decades, Newegg built a highly reputable and widely recognized name in the tech-focused ecommerce market. As we prepare to become a publicly traded company, we are well positioned to build on this foundation to take Newegg to the next level,” said Anthony Chow, Global CEO of Newegg.
LLIT is up 59.6% on news of the acquisition and the stock is active in the extended-hours trading session.
Titan Pharmaceuticals [TTNP]
Shares of Titan are rallying today after the company announced a debt settlement agreement with two of its creditors. The firm will pay $1.6 million in case to settle outstanding debts with Molteni and Horizon. Titan will also transfer “certain probuphine assets” to Molteni under the terms of the deal.
The payments will clear a $5.2 million outstanding debt form Titan’s books. Upon closing, Titan will have no liens on its business or its intellectual property.
Shares are rallying on the news. TTNP is up 38.9% on active pre-market trading volume.
Mid-Con Energy Partners LP [MCEP]
Mid-Con will enter into a strategic merger with Contango Oil & Gas. Mid-Con shareholders will receive 1.75 shares of Contango stock for every Mid-Con share they own. The exchange rate implies the new, combined business will have an enterprise value of $400 million, and Contango shareholders will own about 87% of the company.
Controlling shareholders have voted to confirm the agreement on both sides, so the deal is expected to close pending regulatory approval. The oil & gas industry is having major issues right now, and size equals security in this asset-intensive industry. The merger should help the company weather the economic storm more effectively.
MCEP is up 14.9% on the news and the stock is active in the pre-market.