Home Depot, GameStop, Johnson & Johnson: Stocks That Defined the Week
By Francesca Fontana
Home Depot Inc.
Two giant retailers said the pandemic is not ready to release
its grip on their industry yet. A surge in demand for home
improvements helped Home Depot's revenue increase 20% in its latest
fiscal year, while annual sales at Macy's tumbled nearly 30%. Both
sold more online. The retailers said these trends continue in 2021
but could change later this year as vaccines roll out. Home Depot
shares fell 3.1% Tuesday, while Macy's shares added 3.9%.
Salesforce.com set its sights higher for 2021, but investors may
need convincing. The business-software provider posted record sales
and lifted its outlook for the current year on Thursday, as the
company expands its services in a bid to challenge rivals such as
Microsoft Corp. The company in December struck its biggest-ever
acquisition, the $27.7 billion proposed acquisition of workplace
message company Slack Technologies Inc. Salesforce said on Thursday
that Slack would help boost its top line for this fiscal year by
around $600 million. But investors have been wary about the deal
for Slack, which loses money. Salesforce shares have lost more than
10% since The Wall Street Journal first reported deal talks.
Salesforce shares fell 6.3% Friday.
Best Buy Co.
The future is getting fuzzier at Best Buy. The electronics
retailer said on Thursday that sales surged in the holiday season
but warned that its torrid growth would slow this year. Best Buy
plans to speed its digital transformation, including shrinking its
store workforce and using more space to fulfill online orders. The
company has been laying off workers and cutting hours for some
store workers in recent weeks. Chief Executive Corie Barry said
that some 5,000 workers were laid off or chose to take severance
after their hours were cut during the last fiscal year. Best Buy
shares fell 9.3% Thursday.
Johnson & Johnson
A new Covid-19 vaccine is nearing the finish line. Johnson &
Johnson's single-dose Covid-19 vaccine was effective "across
demographic subgroups" in a late-stage study, U.S. Food and Drug
Administration scientists told a panel of medical specialists
during a meeting to evaluate the shot Friday. The committee's
meeting is the final step before U.S. health regulators decide on
what would be authorization of a third vaccine, and the decision is
expected Saturday. If the vaccine is authorized, J&J has said
it would deliver about 20 million doses for U.S. use by the end of
March. Johnson & Johnson shares fell 2.6% Friday.
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA
The hard seltzer craze is helping the world's biggest brewer
keep sales frothy. Anheuser-Busch InBev said Thursday that demand
for its hard seltzer brands partly offset weaker sales of Budweiser
and Bud Light. The company said sales at its "beyond beer" unit,
which includes hard seltzer, ready-to-drink cocktails and other
products, grew double digits to top over $1 billion in the latest
quarter. Flavored alcoholic sparkling water emerged as one of the
hottest parts of the booze market in recent years, coaxing more
health-conscious drinkers away from beer. In response, AB InBev
launched Bud Light Seltzer early last year and recently rolled out
Michelob Ultra Hard Seltzer. AB InBev shares lost 7.9%
"Meme" stocks are still in play. GameStop shares jumped for a
second day Thursday as momentum surrounding the stock continued to
build. Thursday's gains stood in contrast with the rest of the
market, as major stock indexes tumbled and the yield on the 10-year
Treasury note marked its biggest one-day advance since November.
The videogame retailer's recent rally is similar to last month's
blockbuster gains, which were fueled by individual investors who
touted the stock on Reddit's WallStreetBets forum and other
social-media platforms. Other "meme" stocks, or ones that are
popular on the Reddit forum, also jumped this week. GameStop shares
surged 19% Thursday.
Demand for food delivery in a Covid-vaccinated world is expected
to cool. DoorDash said Thursday its days of breakneck growth are
ending, forecasting a major slowdown in new food orders for 2021 as
vaccinations sweep the country and the economy crawls toward
reopening. The company expects total orders this year to be between
$30 billion and $33 billion, an increase of as much as 33% from
2020. It's a more modest pace than the triple-digit-percent growth
rate in recent quarters. In its first financial report since its
initial public offering, the company also reported a
larger-than-expected loss in the quarter and rising costs related
to regulation. DoorDash shares added 1.6% Friday.
Write to Francesca Fontana at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 26, 2021 20:07 ET (01:07 GMT)
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