Top US stocks to watch before the bell: AMC, Etsy and Tyson Foods

AMC remains in focus after reports that Mudrick flipped the stock yesterday, Etsy agrees to buy Depop, the boss of Tyson Foods abruptly leaves, Tesla recalls thousands of cars, Canaan defends crypto mining, Zoom beats expectations, and Moderna plans to tinker with its vaccine.

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AMC Entertainment

AMC Entertainment shares remain in focus today after it was reported that Mudrick Capital, which bought 8.5 million shares for $230.5 million yesterday, quickly sold the shares for a profit and called it overvalued.

AMC announced the equity placing yesterday as it took advantage of the stellar rise in its share price in recent weeks to help fund acquisition opportunities, but reports quickly followed that Mudrick flipped the stake, suggesting firms are becoming bolder in their attempts to profit from the retail trading frenzy.

Etsy

Etsy, the online site selling handmade and custom products, has agreed to purchase second-hand clothes seller Depop for $1.62 billion mostly in cash as it looks to capitalise on the growing demand in the clothes resale market among younger consumers.

Depop is a UK-based firm founded in 2011 that lets people buy and sell clothes. It handled gross merchandise sales of $650 million in 2020 and booked revenue of $70 million, with both more than doubling from the previous year. It had 4 million active buyers and 2 million sellers last year.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021 and will be funded using existing resources.  

Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods has announced that its president and chief executive Dean Banks is leaving the company for personal reasons and being replaced by chief operating officer Donnie King.

King has been in the protein industry for 36 years and has held numerous roles at Tyson Foods, including previously leading its North American division and its international arm. The change will take effect immediately.

‘I’m humbled but excited about leading Tyson Foods, a company that feeds millions of people and means so much to me personally,’ said King. ‘I believe we need to be sharply focused on operating with excellence, executing our strategies, and continuing to innovate across our businesses throughout the world. With our strong leadership team, we are committed to winning with our customers and delivering an outstanding team member experience,’ said King.

Tesla

Tesla is recalling almost 6,000 cars in the US over fears that bolts fastening the brake caliper could come loose and cause a loss in tyre pressure.

Tesla said the threat of losing tyre pressure was only happening in ‘very rare circumstances’ and will fix any faults that are found in the cars being recalled. The cars affected include Model 3s made between 2019 and 2021 and Model Ys produced between 2020 and 2021.

Tesla has since rectified the problem to ensure it is not happening to new cars rolling off the production line.

Canaan

Chinese firm Canaan, which produces computers used to mine bitcoin, has argued against a crackdown on cryptocurrency mining in China and argued the industry boosts employment and the economy.

Chief executive Zhang Nangeng agreed fossil-fuel powered mining does go against ambitions to go green, but said those powered by cleaner sources of energy should escape the crackdown. The comments, made in an earnings conference call, came after China decided to start taking action against energy-intensive crypto mining.

The comments came after Canaan reported first-quarter results yesterday, revealing net revenues soared to RMB402.8 million from just RMB68.3 million the year before as the amount of computing power sold more than doubled. It produced net income of RMB1.2 million, turning from a RMB39.9 million loss the year before.

Johnson & Johnson

The US Supreme Court has rejected Johnson & Johnson’s hopes of overturning $2.1 billion of damages awarded to women who claim to have contracted ovarian cancer because of asbestos in baby powder and other talc-based products.

J&J had lodged an appeal in the state of Missouri after officials rejected previous attempts to throw out the case. However, J&J was successful last year in cutting the damages from an original sum of $4.7 billion.

The case, which combined individual claims from 22 different women, is significant as J&J has warned previously that it could face up to 19,000 similar claims.

Zoom

Zoom Video Communications on Tuesday said revenue trebled in the first quarter to the end of April, leading to significantly higher profits as the company continues to benefit from people socialising and working from home.

Revenue soared to $956.2 million from only $328.2 million the year before, with net income leaping to $227.5 million from $27.1 million. It beat analyst expectations at both the top and bottom lines.

Zoom said it expects to report revenue of $985 million and $990 million in the second quarter, with operating income of $350 million to $360 million. That is better than the $931.8 million forecast by analysts. For the full year, Zoom said it is now targeting revenue of $3.97 billion and $3.99 billion with income of $1.42 billion and $1.44 billion.

Moderna

Moderna has struck a partnership with Swiss drugmaker Lonza to boost production of lower doses of its coronavirus vaccine that can be used on younger age groups and to battle new variants.

The deal means Lonza’s production site in the Netherlands will be able to make up to 300 million doses at 50mg each, half the original dose of the vaccine that has already been approved. Moderna said it expects there will be a mixture of dosage levels available on the market as of 2022 as it explores whether a lower dose can prove as effective or prove better protection for children.

Moderna is aiming to deliver up to 3 billion doses of its vaccine in 2022, although has not broken this down by dosage. That will compare to the 800 million to 1 billion doses it hopes to deliver before the end of 2021.

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