BY THE NUMBERS
IN THE NEWS TODAY
America’s top diplomat early Thursday pressed China to use its “tremendous influence” to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, hours after reclusive Pyongyang vowed to ignore any U.S. overtures to resume negotiations. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke at the end of security talks with South Korea in Seoul. (AP)
Blinken will meet senior Chinese officials in Anchorage, Alaska, on his way back to Washington later Thursday. Ties between the world’s two largest economies have been torn for years and the Biden administration has yet to signal whether it’s ready or willing to back down from the hard-line stance taken under former President Donald Trump. (AP)
The House was set to vote Thursday on a bill to give so-called Dreamers, immigrants brought to the U.S. as kids, full legal status and a chance for citizenship. A second measure would do the same for immigrant farm workers. Both measures seemed certain to pass. (AP)
* Jeff Bezos applauds ‘Dreamers’ bill: ‘Families across America deserve this’ (CNBC)
The federal April 15 tax filing day has been postponed about a month. Taxpayers can also delay payment of any money owed the IRS until May 17. However, the extended deadline applies only to federal income returns and taxes, meaning that taxpayers will need to check to see if due dates for state taxes have been changed. Not all states follow the same filing schedule as the federal government. (CNBC)
* New alert warns of tax season cyberscam (CNBC)
* 90 million of the $1,400 stimulus checks have been deposited (CNBC)
Google plans to spend more than $7 billion on real estate across the U.S. in 2021 as it resumes spending in the wake of the Covid pandemic. The unit of Alphabet (GOOGL) said the money help expand offices and data centers across 19 states. (CNBC)
Lyft (LYFT) said last week was its best, in terms of rider volume, since Covid lockdowns began in March 2020. The company also posted positive year-over-year growth in daily ride-hailing volume for the first time in a year on Wednesday, March 17. (CNBC)
* AMC to reopen almost all its U.S. theaters by March 26 (MarketWatch)
STOCKS TO WATCH
Dollar General (DG): Dollar General shares tumbled 6.1% in premarket action after the discount retailer missed estimates by 10 cents a share, with quarterly earnings of $2.62 per share. The company exceeded revenue estimates as comparable-store sales increased more than expected.
Signet Jewelers (SIG): The jewelry retailer’s stock jumped 5.7% in premarket trading following an upbeat quarterly report. Signet earned $4.15 per share, compared to a consensus estimate of $3.54 a share. Revenue came in above estimates as well amid strong comparable-store sales.
Petco (WOOF): In its first report since going public in January, the pet supplies retailer reported quarterly profit of 17 cents per share, 6 cents a share above estimates. Revenue also came in above Wall Street forecasts, with comparable-store sales up 17%. Shares gained 3.2% in the premarket.
Accenture (ACN): The consulting firm reported quarterly profit of $2.23 per share, beating the consensus estimate of $1.90 a share. Revenue topped forecasts as well. Accenture also raised its earnings forecast, as more companies utilize its services to move to cloud-based operations. Accenture added 2.2% in premarket trading.
Apple (AAPL): Apple is planning to launch a new line of iPads as early as next month, according to a Bloomberg report. iPad sales have been boosted over the past year, as more people worked and attended school remotely due to the pandemic. Apple fell 1% in premarket action.
Five Below (FIVE): The discount retailer beat estimates by 9 cents a share, with quarterly profit of $2.20 per share. Revenue was above Wall Street forecasts as well, boosted by a 14% jump in comparable-store sales. Shares rallied 5.7% in premarket trading.
Williams-Sonoma (WSM): Williams-Sonoma reported quarterly earnings of $3.95 per share compared to a consensus estimate of $3.39 a share. The housewares retailer’s revenue beat estimates as well, helped by people spending more time at home amid the pandemic. The company also announced an 11% dividend hike and authorized a $1 billion share repurchase program. Williams-Sonoma surged 11.1% in premarket action.
PagerDuty (PD): PagerDuty lost 7 cents per share for its latest quarter, less than the 11 cents a share that Wall Street analysts were anticipating. The operations software company’s revenue beat forecasts, but is expecting a wider full-year loss than analysts have been forecasting. Shares fell 4.4% in the premarket.
Nikola (NKLA): Nikola said South Korean stakeholder Hanwha plans to sell up to half its stake in the electric truck maker this year, reducing its 5.65% stake. Nikola added that the maker of optoelectronic components remains an “Important strategic partner.” Its shares lost 3.6% in premarket action.
Lordstown Motors (RIDE): Shares fell 4.2% in premarket trading after Lordstown said it had received a Securities and Exchange Commission request for information regarding accusations made in a report by short-seller Hindenburg Research. The report accused the electric vehicle maker of misleading consumers and investors, but Lordstown has said the report was full of “lies and half-truths.”
Sundial Growers (SNDL): Shares of the Canada-based cannabis producer rose 8.4% in premarket trading after it reported better-than-expected revenue for its latest quarter. The company also said it successfully restructured the company during 2020, positioning it for future success. The stock surged 7.8% in the premarket.
National Grid (NGG): National Grid is buying the United Kingdom distribution grid unit of Pennsylvania-based PPL Corp. (PPL) for $10.9 billion. At the same time, the multinational power company is selling Rhode Island-based Narragansett Electric Company to PPL for $3.8 billion. PPL added 1.7% in premarket trading.
Peloton (PTON): Peloton CEO John Foley told Bloomberg news that the fitness equipment maker has expanded its production capacity by 700% over the past year, and that its supply of exercise bicycles is now close to meeting demand. Peloton fell 1.7% in the premarket.