Top US stocks to watch before the bell: Moderna, Apple and Tesla

WHO set to review Moderna’s jab, Apple to spend $1 billion on a new campus, BP to provide renewable power to US homes, Tesla looks to recycle more components in China, Check Point Software beats expectations, and Honest Co and Betway unveil plans to go public.

USA (1)

Moderna

Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine will be reviewed by technical experts later this week to decide whether it should be added to the World Health Organisation’s emergency-use list.

Jabs made by Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have been added to the WHO’s list, which is designed to send a signal to countries around the world about which vaccines are safe and effective.

Officials told Reuters the vaccine will be reviewed by April 30, with a final decision expected one to four days after.

Apple

Apple has released plans to spend up to $1 billion on building a new campus in North Carolina that will house up to 3,000 workers and create a new engineering hub built around jobs in the likes of machine learning, artificial intelligence and software design.

The new campus will follow on from plans to spend the same amount on a new campus in Texas back in 2019. It forms part of Apple’s ambition to hire 20,000 more people across the US by 2026.

Apple said it has also raised its spending target in the US to $430 billion by 2026 from the previous $350 billion target set back in 2018.

BP

BP has applied for a licence to supply homes with renewable electricity as part of its plans to shift to greener energy.

The oil company has applied to provide electricity to residential properties in California, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas in what would be its entry into the retail power market. This is expected to draw renewable energy from its onshore wind farms, solar farms and a natural gas plant in Indiana.

Canadian Pacific and Kansas City

Hundreds of freight rail companies have written to voice their support for a combination between Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern after rival Canadian National Railway launched a bid last week.

Canadian Pacific made a $25 billion bid for Kansas City Southern in hopes of creating the first combined rail network spanning Canada, the US and Mexico. However, Canadian National made a rival bid worth over $30 billion. Canadian Pacific has said it will not raise its bid but still believes it is the best option for Kansas City.

Around 416 rail shippers have written to the US Surface Transportation Board voicing their support for Canadian Pacific to buy Kansas City, while only 135 letters had been received supporting the proposed combination with Canadian National.

Tesla

Tesla intends to build facilities at its factory in Shanghai that can repair and recycle key components like electric motors and batteries, according to paperwork filed in China.

It is thought to be in response to new rules in China requiring key components for electric vehicles to be recycled, and part of wider plans to localise supply chains. No timeframe or details on capacity have been revealed.

Tesla sold around 35,000 electric vehicles that were made in China last month and is starting to export them into Europe.

Check Point Software Technologies

Check Point Software Technologies beat expectations in the first quarter thanks to increased demand for its cloud platform and network security products as people work from home during the pandemic.

The company reported a 4% rise in revenue to $508 million while diluted earnings per share came in at $1.52 compared to $1.42 a year earlier. That beat expectations for revenue of $502 million and EPS of $1.50.

It reported double-digit growth from its cloud platform and said security products benefited from the need for ‘holistic security architecture’ among businesses and institutions.

Nestle

Nestle is in discussions about buying The Bountiful Company as part of plans to expand into the health and nutrition sector.

The Swiss food giant is preparing to buy all or part of the company but did not release further details. Analysts expect The Bountiful Company to fetch a price tag of between $5 billion to $7 billion.

The company makes the likes of Osteo Bi-Flex joint care supplements and Puritan Pride vitamins.

Honest Co

Consumer goods firm Honest Co announced it is planning on going public in the US with a valuation of around $1.5 billion.

The company, founded by actress Jessica Alba, revealed it had seen a surge in demand during the pandemic with revenue jumping by around 28% to $300 million in 2020. However, the company remains in the red with a net loss of $14.5 million after narrowing from a $31.1 million loss the year before.

Honest Co sells a wide range of products ranging from sunscreen to baby products. It is hoping to sell shares for between $14 and $17 each.

Sports Entertainment Acquisition Corp

Online bookmaker Betway plans to go public by merging with SPAC Sports Entertainment Acquisition in a merger that will value Betway’s owner, Super Group, at around $4.75 billion.

The valuation excludes the $450 million held by Sports Entertainment in trust. The company plans to trade under the ticker ‘SGHC’ if the deal goes ahead.

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