Top US stocks: Eli Lilly, General Motors and Gap

Eli Lilly’s coronavirus therapy to be used as a preventative, GM reduces output at its plants, Gap signs a deal with UK retailer Next, JPMorgan set to launch its new digital bank next week, Man Utd sees losses widen, and Invesco talks to State Street about a possible deal.

USA (1)

Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly announced yesterday that the emergency use approval for its Covid-19 treatment has been expanded, allowing it to be given to those at high risk of infection after being exposed to someone with the virus.

The therapy is a combination of bamlanivimab and etesevimab, which has so far been used as a treatment. But the expansion means it can now be used as a preventative measure for high risk individuals, such as those in nursing homes.

General Motors

General Motors has extended the closure of its assembly plant in Michigan as the fallout from the recall of its Chevrolet Bolt electric cars worsens.

The carmaker expanded its recall to over 140,000 Bolts last month over concerns about the batteries causing fires, with reports of 12 fires so far. That is expected to cost around $1.8 billion but the company is looking for the maker of the batteries, South Korean outfit LG, to foot the bill. All production and sales are on hold until the issue is resolved, and the timeframe of how long that will take is unclear.  

It said the plant will now be closed until the middle of October, adding that output would be cut at six other plants due to the ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips.

Gap

Gap has announced it will continue to sell its clothes in the UK through a new deal signed with Next, just months after revealing it would close down all of its stores in the region, according to several media reports.

The pair will work together under a joint venture that will see Gap’s online offering available on Next’s platform and its lines stocked in stores. A click-and-collect offering is also set to be introduced from next year. Next will own 51% of the venture and Gap the other 49%. Gap, having recognised its failure to attract shoppers to its own stores, will benefit from Next’s strong online presence and omnichannel offering.

Gap revealed it was closing all of its 81 stores in the UK and Ireland earlier this year.

JPMorgan

JPMorgan will launch its new digital bank Chase in the UK next week, according to reports from Reuters.

Citing a company spokesperson, the report said the US bank was set to launch its new smartphone app on Tuesday, initially offering current accounts before expanding into areas like lending and investments. If all goes to plan, it will start to step into other countries in Europe.

The launch comes after JPMorgan acquired UK digital wealth manager Nutmeg for £700 million earlier this year.

Invesco and State Street

Invesco is in talks about merging with State Street’s asset management business, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal.

The report, citing unnamed sources, said no deal was imminent and may not happen. It said it was not clear what the potential benefits of any tie-up would be considering State Street’s asset management unit has around $4 trillion of assets on its books.

State Street announced last week it was buying Brown Brothers Harriman & Co’s investor services business for $3.5 billion.

Tesla

Tesla plans to work with regulators from around the world on how to improve data security, its chief executive Elon Musk revealed at an industry event in China.

Data, and how it is handled, has become an increasing focus of regulators in China and the carmaker has come under fire for how it stores and handles information on its customers. Musk said ‘data security of vehicles is drawing more public concerns than ever before’ at the World New Energy Vehicle Congress, speaking by video link.

Manchester Utd

Manchester Utd reported lower revenue and wider losses as lockdown kept fans away from stadiums, but said it is operating at full capacity since the start of the new season and is buoyed by the new additions it has made to the squad.

Revenue in the year to the end of June fell to £494.1 million from £509.0 million. Although broadcasting revenue jumped over 80%, it was not enough to counter the lost sales whilst stadiums were closed during lockdown.  Its pretax loss widened to £24.0 million from £20.8 million. Analysts had expected revenue of £500.0 million and for a loss in-line with last year.

‘It has been an exciting start to the season at Old Trafford, with capacity crowds in attendance for the first time in almost 18 months. We were delighted to welcome back Cristiano Ronaldo to the club, along with Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Tom Heaton, to further reinforce the progress that our first team has been making under Ole,’ said executive vice chairman Ed Woodward.

Coupang

Softbank’s Vision Fund has sold a chunk of shares in Coupang for over $1.69 billion, new regulatory filings have revealed.

The vehicle holding the shares, SVF Investments, sold 57 million shares for $29.685 each. Coupang shares have plunged over 40% since listing earlier this year and trade below their $35 IPO price.  

Analyst Recommendations: Alphabet and Facebook

Jefferies raised its price target on Alphabet to $3,325 from $3,150, citing the continued strength of its search engine and building momentum in other areas of the business such as YouTube and mobile.

The broker also upped its price target for Facebook to $440 from $425 on the belief the social media platform is reaping the rewards of increased ad spending.

JPMorgan increased its price target for Goldman Sachs to $458 from $455 after being impressed by the bank’s progress and ability to return significant sums to shareholders.

Take-Two Interactive was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform by BMO Capital, citing concerns about delays in releasing new video games.

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