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S&P 500 Up 24 Points: Microsoft Moving on TikTok, Apple Going After Payments?

By Jason Hall – Aug 3, 2020 at 6:05PM

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One small acquisition and ongoing negotiations on a much bigger one had two megacaps lifting the index higher today.

The S&P 500 Index (^GSPC 0.25%) finished trading up 23.5 points, or about 0.7%, on Aug. 3, starting a new month off on a positive note. Today's positive move is being fueled by a surge for both Apple (AAPL 1.37%) and Microsoft (MSFT 0.07%), up 2.5% and 5.8% on the day on separate acquisition news. 

Today's biggest S&P 500 mover is Varian Medical Systems (VAR), with shares up 22% following news it was being acquired, while both McKesson (MCK -1.28%) and Jacobs Engineering (J -0.66%) shares gained more than 6% after solid earnings results. 

A woman smiles at her smartphone.

Image source: Getty Images.

Apple tiptoes into mobile payments 

According to reports, Apple has acquired privately held start-up Mobeewave. The company's technology is aimed at unlocking the built-in capabilities of the iPhone to accept contactless payments without requiring any additional hardware. What's so market-moving about this tiny (for Apple) acquisition that the company won't even comment on? The potential for unlocking a market that companies such as Square have dominated so far, that could be worth billions of dollars in untapped recurring revenues. 

Whether the iStuff behemoth is looking at payments to further accelerate its already-growing services business, or just adding more capabilities to keep people buying iPhones, remains to be seen. 

Microsoft confirms TikTok negotiations

Despite the political minefield surrounding the popular video sharing platform, Microsoft is making a full-on effort to buy TikTok's business in the U.S. and several other countries, from its owner, Chinese-based private company ByteDance. While Microsoft has a bit of a checkered history with big acquisitions over the past couple of decades, including what's largely considered an overpay for Skype, investors are optimistic that the deal will get done and will work out well for the company. 

The acquisition of LinkedIn, the business-focused social media platform, has been a success. CEO Satya Nadella has led the company on an amazing path since taking the reins in 2014, and investors seem to be confident the company has the right leadership in place now to make the most of a bigger foray into social media that's focused on play, not work. 

Acquisitions, earnings driving these stocks higher

Varian Medical is worth $16.4 billion, at least to Siemens Healthineers (SMMNY -0.04%), which has agreed to pay that amount for the company. The specifics of the deal call for an all-cash purchase price of $177.50 per share, which shareholders and regulators must approve. The companies expect the deal to close in the first half of next year. 

Healthcare and engineering giants McKesson and Jacobs both reported earnings today. McKesson's revenue was roughly flat at $44.7 million, while adjusted earnings of $2.77 per share were down 16%. But investing is all about expectations, and McKesson did far better than expected, even boosting company guidance for the rest of the year

Jacobs was a similar story. Revenue was up a modest 3% to $3.3 billion, while adjusted earnings from continuing operations was $1.26 per share, down from $1.40 last year. On a GAAP basis, earnings increased 266%. Jacobs also anticipates the rest of the year will improve, adjusting its full-year guidance higher as infrastructure and other construction spending has proved resilient.

Earnings ahead

Investors face another heavy week of quarterly earnings, with more than 100 S&P 500 component stocks scheduled to report this week. 

Entertainment giant Walt Disney (DIS -0.15%) is set to report earnings Aug. 4 after the market closes. With the coronavirus pandemic hitting different parts of its business in different ways, there are a lot of questions investors want answered.

Two other notable companies set to report this week are pharma giant Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY -0.74%), which reports on Aug. 6 before the market opens, and T-Mobile US (TMUS -1.32%), which will announce its quarterly results on the same day, after the market closes. 

While it hasn't released a date, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A 0.01%) (BRK.B -0.57%) is expected to report this week as well. The company doesn't hold quarterly earnings calls and doesn't preannounce when it will file its quarterly results. Stay tuned here for a closer look when Berkshire's quarterly filing shows up. 

Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Jason Hall owns shares of Square and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple, Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), Bristol Myers Squibb, Microsoft, Square, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends McKesson and T-Mobile US and recommends the following options: short September 2020 $70 puts on Square, long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney, short September 2020 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short October 2020 $125 calls on Walt Disney, long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft, long January 2021 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short January 2021 $200 puts on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), and short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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