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Moderna falls from record as vaccine data euphoria wears off –



Moderna Inc. shares fell from an all-time high as investors digested early data from a small trial of the company’s coronavirus vaccine, and a US$1.3 billion stock sale announced late Monday.

The shares hit a record Monday, and helped raise the broader market, after the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company released early data from a study of its experimental vaccine. The study was designed to show that the shot was safe, and it was successful on that front. It also contained data from eight patients showing that it produced markers of an immune response, a hopeful sign that it could be effective in fighting the virus in wider tests.

By the standards of medical studies, such early, partial data are considered the territory of specialists and day traders. But after 4.9 million coronavirus infections and more than 320,000 deaths around the globe, a glimmer of medical hope — however thin — has been enough to shift trillions of dollars in value in the markets.

After Monday’s 20 per cent rise to US$80, the company announced after the close that it would sell 17.6 million shares at US$76. On Tuesday, Moderna closed down 10 per cent to US$71.67. A gradual slide in the shares that began when trading opened gained momentum after a report from the health publication Stat highlighted the early nature of the vaccine data, helping to drag down the broader market.

Stat cited the lack of a press release from the U.S. National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which partnered with Moderna on the trial. The publication also cited experts who said they were waiting to see more data from the company before drawing a conclusion.

One Wall Street analyst raised the core doubt about the experimental vaccine, called mRNA-1273, while raising his price target on the stock from US$80 to US$112 a share.

“We still do not know whether mRNA-1273 is in fact protective against coronavirus infection in humans,” said BMO Capital Markets’ George Farmer. Translation: Nobody knows if the vaccine works yet. The company has also not said how it plans to make money on the vaccine.

The same market-shifting dynamic happened a few weeks before with Gilead Sciences Inc.

In April, the company and the broader market surged after a report that the company’s COVID-19 drug had helped a small group of patients in Chicago. A week later, they plunged — and sent the S&P 500 down as well — after another report that the drug might not work, after all.

The drug, remdesivir, has since been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under an emergency authorization while more data are awaited.

Speculation in shares of companies developing therapies for COVID-19 has gotten so rampant that it doesn’t take much news to cause dramatic moves in stock prices. Aldeyra Therapeutics Inc., a biotech firm with a market value of just over US$100 million, surged as much as 19 per cent in late trading Tuesday after the company scheduled a call to “provide a COVID-19 development update.”

Moderna Data

A vaccine is considered a crucial step toward lifting social-distancing measures and safely reopening economies, schools and events around the globe. The pandemic has spurred a global race by drugmakers, academic institutions and governments to find a vaccine.

In the phase 1 test of Moderna’s vaccine, the researchers looked at blood samples from the test subjects and whether the vaccine helped them generate antibodies that could theoretically fight off an infection. The researchers found that at two lower dose levels used in the study, levels of antibodies found after getting a second booster shot of the vaccine either equaled or exceeded the levels of antibodies found in patients who had recovered from the virus.

In 25 people who got either of the two smaller doses used in the study, researchers reported that the levels of antibodies equaled or exceeded the levels of antibodies found in patients who had recovered from the virus.

A second analysis, evaluating the quality of those antibodies, was only available for eight of the people because it takes longer to perform. But in all eight people, the vaccine successfully stimulated the body to create antibodies capable of neutralizing the virus in the test tube, so it can no longer infect cells.

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U.S. Oil Producers Take Their Crude Back From The Government –



U.S. Oil Producers Take Their Crude Back From The Government |

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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    U.S. oil companies have started pulling their crude oil back from government storage tanks, suggesting that the glut that forced them to stash it there in the first place is now easing.

    Companies have taken out some 2.2 million barrels of crude since the start of the month, Reuters reports, citing government figures. That’s out of some 23 million barrels that oil producers had to store at government tanks when they ran out of storage space after the slump in demand.

    Storage space was leased in April after oil prices tanked below zero for the first time in history as traders rushed to offload their positions before the contract expired. Despite the brevity of this particular mini-crisis, fundamentals remained difficult as companies were just beginning to cut production, which left them saddled with a lot of oil they could neither sell nor store.

    President Trump tried to help by ordering the Energy Department to buy some 77 million barrels from the struggling industry. That order, however, was never fulfilled. Renting out storage space was the only viable alternative.

    At the time, there were worries that this additional flow of oil into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would push its occupancy rate too high, leaving nothing available and sending oil prices downward again. While this did not happen thanks to the production cuts that U.S. producers made, prices remained depressed for quite a while because of these storage space availability concerns.

    This makes the news that Exxon, Chevron, and the other six companies that rented SPR storage space are taking it back all the better. However, those watching the Energy Information Administration’s weekly inventory report might want to bear it in mind in case one of the next reports does not feature a hefty drawdown.

    By Irina Slav for

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      BC Ferries will be eligible for federal bail-out funds –



      Officials say BC Ferries will be eligible to receive federal financial assistance from Ottawa, adding it to the list of other struggling transit agencies eligible for millions in bail-out funds.

      The money comes from the $1 billion already set aside for transportation by both the federal and provincial governments under Ottawa’s Safe Restart Agreement. TransLink and B.C. Transit, facing staggering financial losses, are set to receive a portion of that funding.

      “We are working … to make sure they are able to provide service as they rebuild,” said B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena.

      The federal government announced last month it would be providing $19 billion to the provinces and territories to help fund a “safe restart” of the Canadian economy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the agreement is meant to help governments pay for a variety of needs, including transit, paying for child care, bailing out financially strapped cities, and increasing contact tracing.

      A total of about $2.2 billion in federal transfers will go to B.C., meant to keep people afloat as the economy reopens and to bolster provincial support programs.

      How much each transit authority receives is yet to be decided.

      A statement said the province is working with the agencies “to fully understand the operational and financial challenges resulting from the pandemic before determining what level of relief may be considered.”

      BC Ferries will be required to bring forward a comprehensive relief proposal to the province to ask for the funding, with “all necessary information made available to support the government’s decision.”

      Trevena said restoring ferry service to pre-pandemic levels and “keeping fares reasonable” will be priorities.

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      Canada Goose speeds up e-commerce spending, restricts manufacturing of new clothing as pandemic impact continues – The Globe and Mail



      Canada Goose jackets are stacked up at a factory in Toronto, on April 2, 2015.

      Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

      Canada Goose Holdings Inc. is speeding up its investments in e-commerce, restricting its manufacturing of new clothing, and cutting back on new store openings, as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to affect its business.

      The company reported on Tuesday that its first-quarter revenue plunged 63 per cent compared to the same period last year, to $26.1-million. In June, Canada Goose projected that sales this quarter would be “negligible” as it was forced to shut down its own stores, and wholesale shipments of its products to other retailers were frozen in the midst of widespread business closures.

      Canada Goose’s net loss widened in the quarter ended June 28, to $50.1-million or 46 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $29.4-million or 27 cents a share in the same period last year.

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      While 21 of Canada Goose’s 22 own stores have now reopened and performance is improving, the Toronto-based outerwear brand said on Tuesday that it also expects a “significant” decline in revenue in the second quarter. The company cut $90-million in costs in the first quarter.

      As Canada Goose prepares for its busiest fall-winter selling season, it is speeding up investments in e-commerce improvements, including a “cross-border solution” to reach international customers in more countries.

      “The online world is becoming increasingly important,” chief executive officer Dani Reiss said on a conference call to discuss the results on Tuesday.

      Canada Goose is shifting its investments in new retail store openings to focus mostly on China, where the economy opened up earlier than in other parts of the world and shopping traffic has begun to recover. With more people around the world staying home rather than traveling this year, the company is hoping to serve Chinese shoppers closer to home rather than counting on its usual sales to Chinese tourists at its stores abroad. Canada Goose will double its store count in China this year with four new stores, and will open three in other markets in North America and Europe.

      While Canada Goose has begun manufacturing jackets again, it plans to produce just one-third of the fall-winter goods it made in the same season last year, and is aiming to “significantly” cut back on its inventory by the end of this fiscal year.

      The company is continuing to take a “brand-first” approach to its inventory, focusing on its direct-to-consumer sales through its website and its own stores, and expecting lower wholesale revenue this year. However, Mr. Reiss said on the call that the company has “enough inventory to chase orders as needed,” and that its wholesale business continues to be important. 

      While many apparel companies cleared out inventory through online promotions over the spring and summer, Mr. Reiss said on the call that the danger of this strategy is that it could “dilute the value” of some products.

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      “We’re a full-price brand,” he said. “Many brands became more promotional, and we did not.” 

      Manufacturing products in Canada gives the company more flexibility to manage its inventory compared to other relying on offshore suppliers, chief executive officer Dani Reiss said in an interview with the Globe and Mail last month.

      “We can react faster. If there’s a shift in demand, we’re able to make smaller runs of styles, closer to the season,” Mr. Reiss said. “We’re self-reliant, that’s the biggest thing. We’re not reliant on a third party to bring us goods.”

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