On the surface, the gains notched by the major U.S. equity benchmarks to start the week were not all that impressive. The Nasdaq Composite led the way, climbing 0.62%, while the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average each finished higher by 0.09%.
However, there were pockets of excitement throughout the market today, helped by the return of Merger Monday. Dow component Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), one of the largest U.S. pharmaceuticals companies, is looking to bolster its oncology offerings by acquiring cancer treatment maker Array BioPharma (NASDAQ:ARRY) for $48 a share in cash, putting an enterprise value of about $11.4 billion on the company.
Pfizer has one of the larger cash stockpiles among the major U.S. pharmaceuticals companies and checks many of the quality boxes. However, there are some concerns the Array deal could be credit negative.
Credit ratings aside, traditional pharmaceuticals companies need growth, and buying makers of cancer drugs is one avenue for delivering that growth.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock, always a widely watched bellwether as it is the largest technology name in the Dow, traded modestly higher Monday although some analysts expressed concern about the impact of the China trade war on the stock and how the company is positioned for a fuller 5G rollout next year.
“JPMorgan analyst Samik Chatterjee cut his forecast for iPhone shipments for the next few quarters by 4%, and trimmed his price target on the stock to $233 from $235,” reports Barron’s. “But he maintains an Overweight rating on the shares, asserting that the trade tensions are likely to be resolved.”
Sticking with Dow technology names for a moment, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), one of the largest semiconductor makers, is trying to snap out of a funk that has the stock down nearly 15% in the current quarter. Much of that tumble is attributable to semiconductor companies’ sensitivity to the trade war with China, but for long-term investors, there are reasons to be optimistic about Intel.
“We concede that 2019 will be strenuous for Intel because of macro weakness, U.S.-China tensions, and share loss, but overall revenue growth should eventually stabilize,” said Morningstar in a recent note. “As Intel gets back on track in 2020 with its 10-nm Ice Lake server parts, we think its data center group, or DCG, will enjoy average top-line growth of 10% through 2023.”
Boeing (NYSE:BA), a frequent guest in this space and the Dow’s largest component, was the blue-chip index’s best performer Monday, adding 2.2%. The company said it has no plans to rename the controversial 737 max passenger jet.
At the Paris Airshow Monday, the aerospace giant boosted its 20-year demand forecast for passenger jets to $6.8 trillion, up from a previous estimate of $6.3 trillion.
“The world’s largest planemaker said at the Paris Airshow it expected 44,040 new airplane deliveries over the next two decades, up from the roughly 43,000 it forecast a year ago,” according to Reuters.
Bottom Line on the Dow Jones Today
Overall, a little under half of the Dow’s 30 components closed higher today, hardly a great percentage and risks remain for investors to consider. Looking out to later in June, FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) reports fiscal fourth-quarter results on June 25, and while the freight shipping company is not a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, it is a member of the Dow Jones Transportation Index, and a bellwether stock at that.
Mired in a slump that has seen the shares slide almost 5% this month, FedEx stock lost another half percent Monday after JPMorgan lowered its price target on the stock to $184 from $202. Tennessee-based FedEx has been a guidance offender multiple times over the past year and it appears that bad news is poised to continue.
Again, FedEx is not a Dow stock, nor is it the largest company in the U.S. Not even close, but transportation names are historically accurate gauges of economic sentiment the market’s tolerance for risk so there could be some tests coming for stocks before June ends.
As of this writing, Todd Shriber did not own any of the aforementioned securities.
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