Stocks advanced broadly throughout the session on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) closing above 26,000 for the first time, and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) also posting a record high.
Today's stock market
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As for individual stocks, Juno Therapeutics (NASDAQ: JUNO) made a big gain following a report the biotech may be bought out, and Ford Motor (NYSE:F) fell after the automaker gave a weak profit outlook for 2018.
Juno Therapeutics' buyout rumor
Shares of Juno Therapeutics soared almost 52% after The Wall Street Journal reported that it is in buyout talks with biotech giant Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG). According to the article, sources familiar with the matter say that the talks could end in a deal in the coming weeks. Celgene stock was down 2.7% today.
Juno is developing a personalized, cell-based cancer immunotherapy called chimeric antigen receptor T-cell technology, or CAR-T. Celgene is partnering with Juno on a CAR-T treatment designated JCAR017 for relapsed or refractory aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and rapid clinical progress for the therapy propelled Juno's stock 142% in 2017.
Interest in the emerging technique surged in 2017, with Novartis winning the race to get the first FDA approval for a CAR-T treatment last August, within days of the announcement that Gilead Sciences was buying CAR-T developer Kite Pharmaceuticals for $11.9 billion. Juno's market capitalization after today's big run stands at $7.9 billion.
Celgene has been under pressure to diversify its portfolio, since it is getting about 63% of its revenue from a single drug (Revlimid), and a setback with a pipeline drug last October raised worries about slowing growth. Earlier this month it made a smaller purchase of Impact Biomedicines that was mainly about getting the rights to a single potential blockbuster drug. But the company may want to make a bolder move to acquire a platform in one of the hottest areas of biotech that could produce a stream of new therapies in the future. Juno's investors are certainly rejoicing today, but Celgene's seem to be skeptical until they see the details of any agreement.
Ford disappoints with 2017 results, 2018 outlook
Ford stock slumped 7% today after the company presented preliminary 2017 financials and its 2018 outlook at the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference in Detroit. Full-year revenue is expected to be $157 billion, well above analyst expectations of $144 billion. But non-GAAP earnings per share will be about $1.78, within company guidance of $1.75 to $1.85 but below analysts' expectation of $1.83. The company also announced a supplemental dividend of $0.13 in addition to the regular dividend of $0.15.
Looking forward, the company predicted that 2018 revenue would be roughly flat with 2017, with non-GAAP EPS between $1.45 and $1.70, compared with the analyst consensus of $1.62. The company blamed the falling profit on commodity and currency exchange losses, which it said would be a $1.6 billion headwind in 2018. Sales volumes next year are expected to decline in the U.S. but grow internationally. Ford executives also spent time outlining plans for cost saving through simplification of the product portfolio, and for investments in electric and autonomous vehicles.
The weak profit outlook stood in contrast to General Motors' presentation earlier in the day, which predicted record profit at the high end of its earlier guidance and didn't mention commodity prices as a concern.