Top US stocks to watch before the bell: Fastly, Tesla and Southwest Airlines

Fastly fixes an outage that hit numerous websites earlier today, Tesla grows sales of cars made in China, Southwest Airlines sees signs of improvement, Ford says its new pickup will be a hybrid, Apple hunts for batteries for its electric car ambitions, and Amazon is to build new data centres in Spain.

USA (1)

Fastly

A major outage of social media, news and government websites was grabbing attention today, with fingers pointing toward problems at cloud-computing business Fastly.

Websites from Reddit and the New York Times to Amazon and Spotify were suffering from spikes in outages, according to website Downdetector. Other sites that were affected included the Financial Times, the Guardian and Bloomberg News.

Fastly confirmed it was investigating an issue with ‘global CDN disruption’ at 0958 UTC but said ‘the issue has been identified and a fix has been applied’ at 1057 UTC, warning that ‘customers may experience increased origin load as global services return.’

Tesla

Tesla sold 33,463 electric cars that were made in its Chinese factory during May, including exports, representing a significant 29% jump compared to April, according to the China Passenger Car Association.

It only sold 25,845 China-made cars in April after that dropped from 35,748 in March. China accounts for around one-third of Tesla sales but many cars made in the country are exported, with 11,527 cars being shipped elsewhere during May. Plus, the Model 3 was the best-selling electric car sold in China.  

A total of 185,000 electric cars were sold in China during May, up 177% from the year before. The fact overall passenger vehicle sales rose by just 1.1% to 1.66 million cars shows the acceleration in adoption of electric vehicles in the country.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has ordered 34 Boeing 737 MAX 7 aircraft to be delivered in 2022, lifting its total order of the new aircraft to 234.

The order is seen as a bullish sign from the travel industry that is desperately trying to recover from the pandemic. The news came as Southwest Airlines said it beat guidance in May as demand improved significantly compared to April and said it expects this trend to continue going forward. It said it is expecting ‘fairly typical booking patterns’ this summer.

It said revenues were down around 35% in May but said it expects this to improve to -20% in June and -15% to -20% in July. It also said it expects to burn through between $1 million to $2 million per day in the second quarter as a whole, tighter than the previous range of $1 million to $3 million,

Ford

Ford said it is launching the new Ford Maverick, a pickup truck ‘for people who never knew they wanted a truck’, as a hybrid and for less than $20,000.

The company said the all-new truck will be the most fuel-efficient on the market able to cover over 500 miles on a single tank of petrol, and will come with an array of tech including an 8-inch touchscreen and automatic emergency braking.

Ford, like many of its peers, has ramped up investment in electric vehicles and is spending around $30 billion before 2030 in an effort to make 40% of global sales from all-electric cars. Ford said there are no current plans for an all-electric version of the Maverick, but it will use the first Ford-developed electric motor.

Apple

Apple is reportedly in early-stage talks with Chinese firms CATL and BYD about securing supplies of batteries as part of its plans to launch an electric vehicle, according to Reuters.

Unnamed sources said the talks were at an early stage and that there was no guarantee a deal would materialise. They also said Apple will only strike deals with those willing to build factories in the US, something that CATL is reportedly reluctant to do due to ongoing tensions between the US and China.

A separate report from Reuters late last year suggested Apple was hoping to launch a passenger vehicle in 2024 as part of plans to unleash its own self-driving technology.

Amazon

Amazon is planning to invest over $3 billion in developing new data centres in Spain with hopes of opening them in the middle of 2022.

The data centres will be located in the northern region of Aragon, according to one of Amazon’s websites, and employ around 1,300 employees. The budget includes the cost of construction, hiring equipment and buying materials, as well as the anticipated salaries needed for the new staff.

Amazon Web Services, the world’s leading cloud computing business, has had a presence in Spain for years and is now bulking out its infrastructure.

Biogen

Biogen’s aducanumab was given the green light by the Food & Drug Administration on Tuesday, making it the first approved treatment against Alzheimer’s disease and sending the stock higher.

Biogen shares shot up as much as 50% at one point yesterday after the approval was awarded and are likely to be on the move again today. The drug will be sold as Aduhelm and one-year’s worth of treatment will cost around $56,000.

There is some controversy around the drug, with the FDA confessing that trial results were mixed, but said there was evidence that it can bring benefits to patients. More research will be conducted over the coming years.

NVIDIA

NVIDIA has submitted an application asking for regulators in China to review its proposed $40 billion takeover of ARM Holdings, according to the Financial Times.

NVIDIA struck a deal to buy chip designer ARM from Japanese conglomerate Softbank last year and is hoping to complete the deal by March 2022, but the report suggests the review could take up to 18 months. Still, the company’s chief executive said he was confident the deal will be cleared within its timeframe in an interview last month.

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