Top US stocks to watch before the bell: Alibaba, Regeneron and J&J

Alibaba shrugs off a record fine, Regeneron seeks approval for its possible coronavirus treatment, Johnson & Johnson starts shipping its vaccine to the EU, General Motors sees Cruise make headway in Dubai, and an Apple exec prepares to testify on anticompetitive concerns.

USA (1)

Alibaba

Alibaba has brushed-off a $2.75 billion fine from regulators for abusing its market dominance in China by stating that it doesn’t expect any material impact from a regulatory crackdown in China, removing a huge cloud of uncertainty that has lingered over the ecommerce giant.

Chief executive Daniel Zhang said discussions with regulators will result in Alibaba making it easier for third-party merchants to conduct business with the company, after coming under fire for forcing them to choose to work with Alibaba or one of its rivals.

Vice chairman Joe Tsai said regulators were ‘affirming our business model’ and said Alibaba is ‘comfortable that there’s nothing wrong with our fundamental business model as a platform company’.

Regeneron

Regeneron is planning to ask for US approval for an antibody cocktail designed to act as a preventative treatment against the coronavirus following positive trial results.

REGEN-COV is a combination of casirivimab and imdeimab and has shown it can reduce the risk of someone getting symptomatic coronavirus by 31% after just one day in people who were living with someone who already had the virus, and up to 76% after three days.

The combo has already been given emergency approval in the US and the latest results should allow it to expand its usage, possibly into other regions like Europe. Swiss outfit Roche is using its facility in San Francisco to manufacture around 2 million doses of REGEN-COV each year.

Johnson & Johnson

J&J started delivering the first doses of its coronavirus vaccine to Europe today, slightly later than the original plan to begin rolling it out at the beginning of April.

The company intends to deliver around 55 million doses to the bloc before the end of June and follow it up with another 120 million doses by the end of the third quarter. Notably, J&J’s vaccine only requires one dose, which is a huge advantage over the majority of other approved vaccines that require two jabs.

General Motors

General Motors Co’s Cruise will begin deploying self-driving taxis in Dubai from 2023 under plans to rollout thousands of them across the city over the next decade.

Cruise, which is majority-owned by GM, will introduce a limited number of self-driving taxis at first but has plans to have up to 4,000 of them across Dubai by 2030. The plans means Dubai will become the first city outside the US to actively use Cruise’s technology and it will be the exclusive provider there until 2029. Cruise intends to launch its first service in San Francisco.

Apple

Apple’s chief compliance officer has agreed to testify to the US Senate on concerns over the company’s position in the mobile app market after the company came under fire for not making any senior management available. Kyle Andeer is now expected to testify at a hearing on April 21.

The questions will revolve around Apple’s rules on how software developers are treated when using its app store to sell their products, such as rules on sharing revenue. There are accusations that the company holds a monopoly and is anti-competitive, which is strongly denied by Apple.

Alphabet’s Google is also under the spotlight into the investigation thanks to its ownership of Android and the Play Store.

United Airlines

United Airlines has said it expects revenue in the first quarter of 2021 to be around two-thirds lower than the previous year. Quarterly revenue will come in at around $3.2 billion. The decline is at the lower end of the airline’s previous forecast of 65% to 70%.

Ingersoll Rand

Ingersoll Rand has agreed to sell its specialty vehicle unit Club Car to private equity firm Platinum Equity for $1.68 billion. The price will be paid in cash and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2021. Club Car makes the likes of golf carts and other alternative vehicles.

KnowBe4

Cybersecurity firm KnowBe4 is aiming to achieve a $3 billion valuation through an initial public offering on the Nasdaq. The company said it intends to offer around 11.8 million shares at $16 to $18 per share, meaning it could raise up to $213 million. The company was founded in 2010 and it now has around 37,000 customers.

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