Stocks opened lower on Monday on concerns about the trade spat with China, but recovered somewhat during the session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) both closed in negative territory, but near highs for the day.
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Energy was the strongest sector after taking a beating last week; the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (NYSEMKT:XOP) rebounded 2.2%. In contrast, consumer staples reversed from their course last week, with the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEMKT:XLP) dropping 1.5%.
As for individual stocks, Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google unit is taking a big stake in Chinese e-commerce by buying a piece of JD.com (NASDAQ:JD), and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (NYSE:BHC) received some unwelcome news from the FDA.
Google invests in Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com
Chinese e-commerce company JD.com and Google announced that the companies have formed a strategic partnership and that Google will be taking a $550 million stake in JD.com. JD shares traded up 3.8% during the day but ended just 0.4% higher at $43.76. Alphabet Class C shares gained 1.8%.
The companies plan to collaborate on creating retail solutions in a variety of regions in the world, including Southeast Asia, the U.S. and Europe. Google will receive 27,106,948 newly issued JD.com Class A ordinary shares, about 1% of shares outstanding, at a price equivalent to $40.58 per American depositary share. JD will also supply a selection of products for sale through Google Shopping.
"We are excited to partner with JD.com and explore new solutions for retail ecosystems around the world to enable helpful, personalized and frictionless shopping experiences that give consumers the power to shop wherever and however they want," said Google Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler.
The move is the latest shot in the battle between Google and Amazon, with the former building ties to China, where its search engine is still blocked. For its part, JD.com, the largest retailer in China, will have an opportunity to expand its logistics network outside its home country.
FDA deals Valeant a setback
Shares of pharmaceutical specialist Valeant plummeted 12.3% after the company announced it had received a Complete Response Letter (CRL) from the FDA that indicated the agency will not approve its new lotion treatment for plaque psoriasis, Duobrii, until it receives more information.
According to the press release, the FDA did not find fault with the clinical efficacy or safety of the medication, which is a combination of two topical drugs already on the market. The CRL noted questions about pharmacokinetic data.
"We are working to resolve this matter expeditiously and have already requested a meeting with the FDA," said Chairman and CEO Joseph C. Papa in the press release. "We hope to bring forward this important new treatment option for those who suffer from plaque psoriasis as quickly as possible."
The FDA rejection could be only a temporary and relatively small setback for the embattled company, which is attempting a turnaround under Papa after a disastrous stretch in 2015-2016 that saw the stock lose over 90% of its value. Duobrii was expected to be the fifth launch in the company's "significant seven" new drugs to revive growth, with the last two still slated for later this year.
Valeant is also changing its name in order to further distance itself from its troubled past. In July, its name will change to Bausch Health Companies, trading under a new ticker, BHC.