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Stock Market Wrap-Up: Why Zoom and Royal Caribbean Shares Jumped Today

By Dan Caplinger - Apr 23, 2020 at 5:05PM

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Stocks finished nearly unchanged, giving up earlier gains.

The stock market had a relatively quiet day on Thursday, giving up early gains as investors were whipsawed by news concerning the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the global economy. Market participants seemed upbeat about the prospects for a return to normal until reports surfaced that Gilead Sciences(GILD 0.08%) drug candidate remdesivir didn't perform as well as expected in some clinical trials in China. By the end of the day, major market benchmarks were mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.40%) rising, but the S&P 500 (^GSPC 0.70%) and Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 1.07%) falling.

Today's stock market

Index

Percentage Change (Decline)

Point Change

Dow

0.17%

39

S&P 500

(0.05%)

(2)

Nasdaq Composite

(0.01%)

(1)

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Even on a lackluster day, some stocks did well. Zoom Video Communications (ZM 0.40%) reached another milestone in the meteoric growth of its business, while Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL 1.51%) got a vote of confidence from two analyst companies.

Zoom hits 300 million users

Shares of Zoom Video Communications zoomed 12.5% higher Thursday. Investors chose to see the company's good news/bad news day in a positive light.

On the favorable side, Zoom saw its number of daily users rise to 300 million. That's up from 200 million users just a few weeks ago, showing just how popular the video service has become in light of ongoing closures of schools, businesses, and other workplaces.

A Zoom videoconferencing set-up.

Image source: Zoom Video Communications.

On a down note, though, more major enterprises decided to scale back their use of Zoom in light of continuing concerns about security. Despite the fact that Zoom announced the coming release of a new version of its platform to address some of those issues, Bank of America and German automaker Daimler have joined other companies in backing away from fully embracing the video communication service.

Investors largely ignored the security issues, however, as they seem appeased by CEO Eric Yuan's efforts to adapt the platform to meet its new users' needs. With so many people using the service, it's not surprising to see Zoom achieve its status as a growth stock icon.

Royal Caribbean gets analysts' thumbs-up

Elsewhere, Royal Caribbean Cruises saw its shares gain 8%. The cruise ship operator had a couple of analyst companies make favorable comments on the stock as Royal Caribbean seeks to line up new sources of capital to make it through its suspension of operations.

Analysts at Stifel believe that among the major cruise lines, Royal Caribbean is the most likely to find a way to survive the industry's current woes. Favorable factors include brand loyalty among customers, more-attractive trips, and greater financial liquidity. Stifel raised its price target by $8 to $48 per share.

Meanwhile, Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) also had favorable things to say about Royal Caribbean. The bank's securities division believes that the cruise line has lower operating costs than its peers, making it best able to handle ongoing shutdowns.

Royal Caribbean is apparently looking for ways to raise even more cash to build a capital cushion while it can, with discussions about offering traditional or convertible bonds to raise debt financing or a secondary stock offering. It's unclear how quickly cruise ships could get back up to speed, but investors today are betting on the turnaround being a quick one.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Gilead Sciences and Zoom Video Communications and recommends the following options: short May 2020 $120 calls on Zoom Video Communications. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Stock Quote
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
RCL
$42.35 (1.51%) $0.63
Zoom Video Communications Stock Quote
Zoom Video Communications
ZM
$108.49 (0.40%) $0.43
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$33,471.03 (0.40%) $134.36
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$4,236.68 (0.70%) $29.41
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
^IXIC
$12,917.15 (1.07%) $137.24
Gilead Sciences, Inc. Stock Quote
Gilead Sciences, Inc.
GILD
$62.50 (0.08%) $0.05

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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