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Nasdaq Gains 173 Points to Kick Off Busy Week in Tech; Moderna Scores $472 Million for Coronavirus Vaccine Research

By Evan Niu, CFA – Jul 27, 2020 at 5:19PM

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The biggest tech giants prepare for a monumental week ahead.

The major indexes gained on Monday amid optimism for another COVID-19 stimulus package following yesterday's comments by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that lawmakers are approaching a deal for a $1 trillion bill. The proposal is expected to include another round of $1,200 checks and could potentially extend an eviction moratorium.

The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) outpaced the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500. The index rose 173 points, driven by gains in major tech stocks like Apple (AAPL -3.00%) and (AMZN -1.57%).

Tim Cook in front of Apple logo

CEO Tim Cook. Image source: Apple.

The week ahead in tech

It's going to be a busy week for tech giants. The CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Facebook (META -0.54%), and Alphabet (GOOG -1.98%) (GOOGL -1.82%) subsidiary Google have agreed to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee as part of an historic antitrust hearing. The hearing was originally scheduled for today but was postponed to Wednesday in order for congressional lawmakers to pay their respects to Representative John Lewis, the civil rights icon that passed away earlier this month.

Antitrust scrutiny of large tech corporations has been intensifying in recent years, with critics arguing that the companies collectively wield too much market power and that different aspects of their respective businesses undermine competition in various ways. Lawmakers are expected to grill Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai as they gather evidence around those allegations as part of a broader antitrust probe that was launched last summer.

All four of those behemoths are then set to report earnings the following day after the market close.

Moderna secures government funding for vaccine research

Shares of Moderna (MRNA 0.15%) jumped by 9% after the biotech announced yesterday that it had secured an additional $472 million from the U.S. government's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in order to support a larger phase 3 program for Moderna's COVID-19 mRNA vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273. That funding comes after the biotech previously received $483 million from BARDA and brings the total value of awards to $955 million.

The expanded phase 3 program, which commenced today, will include 30,000 participants and be conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Moderna says it remains on track to deliver 500 million doses per year starting in 2021, with the potential to ramp to 1 billion doses per year.

Enlarged coronavirus particle icons superimposed over map of the Earth, rendered in various shades of red

Image source: Getty Images.

"We thank BARDA for this continued commitment to mRNA-1273, our vaccine candidate against COVID-19." Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement. "Encouraged by the Phase 1 data, we believe that our mRNA vaccine may aid in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and preventing future outbreaks."

Hasbro results impacted by the coronavirus

Toymaker Hasbro (HAS -0.69%) saw its stock lose 7% after announcing second-quarter earnings. The company missed revenue expectations because many retailers were closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Revenue in Q2 fell 29% to $860.3 million, shy of the $992 million in sales that analysts were expecting. That led to adjusted net income of $2.7 million, or $0.02 per share.

Hasbro said it was unable to meet strong consumer demand due to store closures and product shortages. Partner factories in China, which represent 55% of the company's total production capacity, have now resumed operations and are operating at normal levels. Management is optimistic that conditions will improve throughout the rest of the year.

"While the full-year COVID-19 impact geographically remains unpredictable, as stores reopen and we begin to return to production for entertainment we expect the environment to improve in the third quarter and set us up to execute a good holiday season," said Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Amazon and Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Hasbro and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$138.20 (-3.00%) $-4.28
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$95.65 (-1.82%) $-1.77, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$113.00 (-1.57%) $-1.80
Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
$135.68 (-0.54%) $0.73
Hasbro, Inc. Stock Quote
Hasbro, Inc.
$67.42 (-0.69%) $0.47
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$96.15 (-1.98%) $-1.94
Moderna, Inc. Stock Quote
Moderna, Inc.
$118.25 (0.15%) $0.18
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
$10,737.51 (%)

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

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