Top US stocks to watch before the bell: Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Verizon

Baker Hughes and Halliburton see signs of a recovery in oil markets, Nasdaq benefits from market volatility and IPO surge, Verizon loses mobile subscribers, Anthem ups expectations, Middleby buys Welbilt, Netflix’s subscriber growth disappoints, and UiPath prepares to go public.

USA (1)

Baker Hughes

Baker Hughes reported a steep fall in profits during the first quarter of 2021 but said it was ‘cautiously optimistic’ about oil demand recovering this year.

Adjusted profit plunged 40% quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of the year to $270 million from $462 million and turned to a net loss of $452 million at the bottom-line from a $653 million profit. Although oil prices have rebounded form their pandemic-induced lows, oil producers and explorers are yet to ramp-up their spending or production.

CEO Lorenzo Simonelli said spending and activity levels should improve this year before experiencing ‘stronger growth’ in 2022.

Halliburton

Halliburton performed better than its rival and said profits increased in the first quarter of the year, stating it saw a ‘an activity inflection for the international markets’ and a ‘healthy recovery’ in North America.

Adjusted net income at the bottom-line rose to $170 million from $160 million in the fourth quarter, with revenue rising by 6% to $3.45 billion – slightly ahead of the $3.36 billion forecast by analysts.

CEO Jeff Miller said he is expecting international activity to improve this year and that the ‘early momentum’ in North America gave him confidence about the rest of 2021.

Verizon

Verizon said it lost 178,000 mobile customers during the first quarter of 2021, far more than what analysts had expected, as it faced fiercer competition from the likes of T-Mobile and AT&T.

Analysts had predicted Verizon would lose 121,700 subscribers during the first three months of the year. However, the 4% rise in operating revenue to $32.9 billion was ahead of the $32.46 billion expected by analysts.

Nasdaq

Nasdaq Inc beat expectations in the first quarter of 2021, driven by its trading business that benefited from market volatility and the surge in IPO volumes this year.

Adjusted net income came in at $1.96 per share, ahead of the $1.74 expected by analysts. Net revenue was up 21% to $851 million.

The exchange operator said it benefited from the entry of new retail traders into the market and the 275 IPOs it welcomed during the quarter. Notably, 196 of those new listing were SPACs.

Anthem

Health insurer Anthem raised its expectations for 2021 after performing better than anticipated during the first quarter.

Adjusted earnings came in at $7.01 per share compared to the $6.51 forecast by analysts. Anthem said it now expects to report annual adjusted net profit over $25.10 per share in 2021 rather than its previous guidance of $24.50.

The results came as Anthem’s pharmacy business reported 8.9% revenue growth to help offset the rise in premiums being paid out during the pandemic.

Middleby and Welbilt

Foodservice equipment maker Middleby has agreed to buy smaller rival Welbilt in a $2.9 billion all-stock deal to help bolster its commercial platform.

Welbilt shareholders will receive 0.1240 Middleby shares for each share they own, valuing Welbilt shares at around $20.68 – a 32% premium to its last closing price.

Together, the two companies will boast around $3.6 billion in annual revenue.

Coinbase

Deutsche Boerse has said it will delist Coinbase shares from the Frankfurt stock exchange and Xetra trading system by the end of play on Friday because of a problem with data.

The delisting is happening because of ‘missing reference data’ for Coinbase shares. The code, known as a LEI code, used after its listing was incorrect and Coinbase now needs to apply for a new one before its shares can be reinstated.

It is not clear who is at fault with the LEI code.

Netflix

Netflix shares will be in focus today after the streaming giant revealed subscription growth was way below expectations during the first quarter of the year.

Netflix said it acquired 3.98 million new subscribers during the period, missing the 6.25 million expected by analysts. It said it only expects to add 1 million new subscribers in the second quarter, also way below the 4.8 million forecast by the markets.

While the outlook was disappointing, quarterly adjusted earnings came in at $3.75 per share and was well ahead of the $2.97 expected by analysts.

UiPath

Automation technology firm UiPath has priced its initial public offering at $56 per share as it prepares to become a publicly-traded business when markets open today.

The price will raise around $1.34 billion for the company. It is listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker ‘PATH’. The IPO price is slightly higher than its originally target range and values the business well over $28 billion.

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