The stock market was relatively quiet on Thursday morning, with a lack of volatility that was eerily reminiscent of the days before the coronavirus pandemic threw the global economy into panic. Weekly jobless claims numbers in the U.S. were once again at extremely high levels above 5.2 million, showing the extent of the economic damage that the COVID-19 outbreak has done. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down 27 points to 23,477. However, the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) rose 13 points to 2,796, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) gained 120 points to 8,514.
Stocks in many sectors have gotten hurt hard by the coronavirus, but some companies are finding ways to profit by offering their help to their customers. Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) expects to see a boost to its financial results from making its coronavirus test available to medical professionals. Meanwhile, Slack Technologies (NYSE:WORK) has benefited from the rise in working from home and people's need to stay connected to their fellow co-workers remotely.
Abbott stays healthy
Shares of Abbott Labs were higher by 4% Thursday morning after the pharmaceutical giant reported its first-quarter financial results. Gains in revenue and adjusted earnings were noteworthy, but investors were really excited about the prospects for future sales from coronavirus-related products and services.
Abbott's numbers were solid. Revenue climbed 2.5% from year-ago levels on a 4.3% rise in organic sales. Adjusted earnings came in at $0.65 per share, up 3% year over year. Gains were largest in Abbott's established pharmaceutical division, and results in the nutrition segment were also strong. Those gains made up for relative weakness in medical devices, especially within the U.S. market.
The company's ID Now and m2000 RealTime diagnostic tests for COVID-19 have been a key part of Abbott's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Along with a blood test to detect the IgG antibody, Abbott is seeing huge demand for these products, and it expects that medical professionals will continue to want the fast results that its array of tests offers.
Just about the only bad news was that Abbott chose to withdraw its guidance for 2020, citing uncertainties about the impact of the coronavirus on its entire business. Nevertheless, with prospects for growth related to COVID-19, investors have high hopes for Abbott's stock.
This stock's not Slacking
Shares of Slack Technologies were up 6% as investor appetite for stocks related to the work-from-home movement continued to gain traction. Slack hasn't performed all that well since its debut on the public markets almost a year ago, but it's bounced significantly from its lows from before the coronavirus crisis began.
Slack's software-as-a-service workplace collaboration platform has made it easier for workers in all locations to work together more effectively. With messaging services as well as integrated voice, video, and file sharing technology, Slack has increasingly become an important tool that large enterprises and small businesses are using to improve productivity and transparency.
Moreover, Slack has identified the importance of working to bolster its growth now. A recent move to raise money through a convertible debt offering helped strengthen its balance sheet, giving Slack the financial resources it'll need to make smart strategic moves.
Slack has acknowledged that it won't be immune from coronavirus-imposed economic challenges, with enterprise customers potentially looking for ways to cut back on expenses. Nevertheless, with a lot of interest from businesses trying to stay productive during the outbreak, Slack hopes to see the surge in its growth continue even once things get closer to normal.