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Starbucks, Johnson & Johnson, Twitter: Stocks That Defined the Week

17/10/2020 12:50am

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By Derek Hall 

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

America's biggest banks are proving that Wall Street can make money even in the middle of a pandemic. JPMorgan said Tuesday that third-quarter profit rose 4% from a year ago. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said third-quarter profit nearly doubled, and Morgan Stanley on Thursday said quarterly profit rose 25% from a year ago. Many executives were quick to warn, however, that the economy isn't out of the woods just yet. JPMorgan shares fell 1.6% Tuesday.

Starbucks Corp.

A new commitment to diversity is brewing at the world's biggest coffee chain. Starbucks on Wednesday set fresh goals to employ more people of color by 2025. The Seattle-based company said it would tie executive compensation to the new diversity metrics and mandate antibias training for executives. The move comes as the Trump administration threatens to end federal contracts with companies that defy an executive order limiting racial-sensitivity training. The Labor Department also is investigating companies that have set specific numerical goals in their diversity efforts. Starbucks, a federal contractor, said the executive order would not affect its targets and training. Starbucks shares fell 0.9% Wednesday.

Pilgrim's Pride Corp.

The Justice Department plucked the first feather in its ongoing probe of the U.S. chicken industry. Pilgrim's Pride, the second-largest U.S. chicken processor by sales, said Wednesday that it had agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors to resolve price-fixing charges. The company will pay a fine of $110.5 million, and a guilty plea will make it the first company to admit in court to what prosecutors allege was a seven-year effort across much of the U.S. chicken industry to inflate prices and suppress competition. It's the latest victory for the Justice Department in its continuing antitrust scrutiny of major food suppliers. Pilgrim's Pride shares rose 5.7% Wednesday.

Johnson & Johnson

The race toward a coronavirus cure hit a new hurdle this past week after a second vaccine trial was paused due to a safety concern. A study volunteer's unexplained illness prompted Johnson & Johnson on Monday to pause further dosing in all clinical trials of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine. An independent committee is reviewing the subject's illness, and J&J said it hopes to know within days whether it can resume testing. Drugmakers have developed their Covid-19 shots remarkably quickly, and J&J's vaccine is one of the most advanced in development. Eli Lilly & Co. on Tuesday also said it would pause its antibody drug trial due to a safety concern. Johnson & Johnson shares fell 2.3% Tuesday.

Apple Inc.

Apple is ready for 5G even though many customers aren't. The tech giant unveiled four iPhone 12 models during an event held by webcast Tuesday that are all capable of connecting to much faster 5G cellular networks, touting improved downloads and uploads, higher-quality video streaming, better gaming and less network congestion. The event brought new attention to a technology that has so far failed to excite consumers. Investors are betting faster connection of 5G will spur new demand for the smartphone and attract customers who have held off on upgrading. Apple shares fell 2.7% Tuesday.

Twitter Inc.

Twitter didn't get many likes this past week. The social-media company faced backlash on Wednesday after it blocked a pair of New York Post articles about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Republican lawmakers were quick to chastise the decision, and the Senate Judiciary Committee said Thursday that it plans to issue a subpoena to Chief Executive Jack Dorsey. Later that day, the social-media company suffered more than two hours of widespread disrupted services with some users unable to send tweets or see them. Twitter shares fell 2.2% Wednesday.

BlackRock Inc.

The world's largest money manager just got even bigger. BlackRock said Tuesday that quarterly profit rose 22% and assets surged to a record $7.8 billion, increasing its dominance in the industry and forcing weaker rivals to play defense. The company also announced a new investment in the electric-vehicle sector, the latest investor bet on new technology upending the auto industry. Electric-vehicle startup Arrival Ltd. said it has raised $118 million from funds managed by BlackRock. This latest investment comes after the New York-based asset manager topped up its holding in July of Rivian Automotive LLC, an electric pickup-truck startup backed in part by Ford. BlackRock shares rose 3.9% Tuesday.

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 16, 2020 19:35 ET (23:35 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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