Top US stocks to watch: Chewy, GameStop and Pfizer

Chewy is set to report results after markets close, GameStop remains in focus after yesterday’s earnings and AGM, 500 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine are to be donated to poorer nations, UK authorities investigate Amazon, and United Airlines plans to order up to 200 new planes.

USA (1)

Chewy

Online pet supply store Chewy is due to publish first-quarter results after the markets close today, with expectations running high as the company continues to capitalise from the shift to online shopping during the pandemic.

In 2020, Chewy’s net sales grew 47% and it delivered its first full-year of adjusted Ebitda, while also reporting its first-ever quarterly net income in the final three months of the year. Investors will be expecting this momentum to have continued in the first quarter and for it to continue on its path to profitability.

Analysts are expecting net sales to rise to $2.12 billion from $1.62 billion the year before and for adjusted Ebitda to rise to $30.1 million from $3.4 million. It is expected to return to a quarterly net loss of $15.2 million, but that is expected to be narrower than the $47.9 million loss booked the year before.

GameStop

GameStop shares will remain in focus after a busy day for the stock yesterday, when it revealed faster sales growth than expected and unveiled its new chief executive.

Matt Furlong, who most recently was leading Amazon’s business in Australia, has been appointed as CEO to lead a new strategy aimed at making GameStop fit for the digital age. It also appointed Mike Recupero, who is also coming from Amazon, as its chief financial officer.

GameStop said net sales jumped over 25% in the first quarter to $1.27 billion, coming in ahead of the $1.16 billion expected by analysts. Its net loss of $66.8 million was much better than the $165.7 million loss the year before, but larger than the $50.8 million loss forecast by Wall Street. It said it is not providing guidance for the full year but said it expects net sales to continue to follow current trends following a 27% rise during May.

GameStop also warned it could sell up to 5 million shares to help raise cash to invest in the business and carry out its strategy, which would allow it to capitalise on the 1,600% rise in its share price since the start of 2021.

Pfizer

The US plans to buy and donate 500 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, representing the largest donation of jabs so far, as part of a global push to help the world’s poorest countries protect their populations.

Around 200 million doses of the jab will be supplied this year with a further 300 million to be delivered in the first half of 2022. The doses will be supplied at cost.

The US plans to distribute the jabs to 92 countries and the African Union. It comes on top of 80 million doses that the US has vowed to donate by the end of this month.

Amazon

The UK’s competition watchdog, the Competition & Markets Authority, is preparing to launch a formal investigation into how Amazon uses the vast amounts of data it collects from its platform, according to the Financial Times.

The CMA is thought to have been looking into Amazon’s business for months, according to three unnamed sources. It is also thought to be analysing how it favours certain merchants with promotions on the platform and through faster deliveries.

The CMA’s investigation is likely to follow a similar thread to that of the EU, which has two active probes into the business.

United Airlines

United Airlines is in talks about splitting a large order of up to 200 planes between both Boeing and Airbus, according to Reuters.

The report suggested the multi-billion order could include over 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes and several dozen larger Airbus A321neo jets, citing unnamed sources. United Airlines said it has no deals to buy any planes from either company and that it doesn’t speculate on orders.

If true, the order comes as United Airlines gears up for the start of a recovery in travel this year as vaccination programmes progress and restrictions are eased, initially led by domestic travel.

Booking.com

Booking Holdings is being pursued by tax authorities in Italy over allegations the firm evaded paying EUR153 million in VAT between 2013 and 2019.

The report from Reuters was confirmed by the company, which said it had received an audit report from authorities and was now working with them to find a resolution.

It is thought to be caused by confusion over who is liable for the VAT owed on rooms booked on its platform, with Booking arguing that hotel and BnB owners are responsible for paying their own VAT in Europe.

Alibaba

Alibaba is developing self-driving trucks with its logistics subsidiary Cainiao, its chief technology officer Cheng Li revealed earlier today.

It represents the latest big name to enter the race to unleash fully autonomous driving to the markets, with other companies such as Apple and Baidu also thought to have entered the market.

Li also said that Cainiao plans to launch 1,000 autonomous delivery robots in China over the next 12 months.

Tesla

Tesla will unveil its new Model S Plaid at its delivery event being held at its Fremont factory later today.

The event, which will be live streamed from 1900 PT, will see Tesla unleash a new high-performance version of the Model S sedan launched back in 2012. However, the $129,990 price tag has risen by around $10,000 in recent weeks and also marks a significant premium compared to the $79,990 price tag of the Model S.

Musk has described the Model S Plaid as the fastest accelerating car in the world capable of achieving 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 1.99 seconds.

LifeStance Health Group

Mental healthcare provider LifeStance Health Group said it achieved a higher price than planned as it launched its initial public offering today.

LifeStance sold 32.8 million shares at $18 each, above the target range of $15 to $17. Existing investors also sold another 7.2 million shares. The price gives the company an initial valuation of around $6.7 billion.

LifeStance reported quarterly revenue of $143.1 million and a net loss of $8.7 million in the first three months of 2021.

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