The stock market managed to move higher on Wednesday morning, seeking to bounce back from two days of steep declines. Market participants remained nervous about the potential consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak, but they seemed to acknowledge that it'll take time to understand the full ramifications of the disease and its impact on the global economy. As of 11:00 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -2.11%) was up 377 points to 27,458. The S&P 500 (^GSPC -2.80%) had risen 45 points to 3,173, and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC -3.80%) had picked up 161 points to 9,127.
Among individual stocks, Beyond Meat (BYND -6.93%) got a nice boost following news of interest in its products from coffee giant Starbucks (SBUX -2.60%). Meanwhile, on the earnings front, home improvement retailer Lowe's (LOW -1.39%) gave a report that made some shareholders concerned about whether the remainder of the year could see new challenges ahead.
What's for breakfast?
Shares of Beyond Meat jumped 6% after the maker of plant-based meat substitutes announced a new collaboration. The company will work with Starbucks in Canada to add a breakfast sandwich using Beyond Meat's sausage product.
Starbucks will reportedly put a Beyond Meat, cheddar, and egg sandwich on the menu at more than 1,400 of its Canadian store locations. The sandwich will feature a Beyond Breakfast Sausage patty. For Starbucks, the move aims once again at trying to flesh out its food offerings, a task that has repeatedly challenged the coffee shop retailer in the past.
For Beyond Meat, the Starbucks partnership is just the latest in a series of tests with restaurant companies. With Yum! Brands having introduced Beyond Chicken at KFC locations and Dunkin' Brands offering a similar breakfast option, the plant-based meat specialist is looking to tap into demand wherever the company can find it.
Many investors still see the meat substitute craze as a fad that will eventually die out. Yet the more companies jump on the bandwagon, the more likely it seems that the trend has staying power -- and that Beyond Meat can cash in over the long run.
Lowe's keeps moving forward
Shares of Lowe's were down almost 3% following the home-improvement retailer's fourth-quarter financial report. Although performance on the bottom line topped what most of those following the stock were expecting to see, tougher times on the sales front and an uncertain outlook weighed on investor sentiment.
Lowe's numbers showed the steady progress the company has made. Adjusted earnings of $0.94 per share were up 17.5% from year-ago levels. That came on a 2.4% rise in total revenue. Comparable sales systemwide rose by a similar 2.5%, with a 2.6% gain in comps for the U.S. home-improvement division.
CEO Marvin Ellison tried to keep the numbers in perspective, noting that Lowe's is in a multiyear turnaround plan. However, efforts to bolster its e-commerce platform will hopefully supplement the growth from its brick-and-mortar store base, despite getting off to a slow start.
Some investors seemed disappointed with projections for full-year fiscal 2020 earnings and revenue, with expectations of top-line growth of 2.5% to 3% on comps of 3% to 3.5%. In a choppy market, though, Lowe's offers some stability along with a healthy dividend that will appeal to investors.