US stocks look set to begin the new year on the front foot, with futures tied to the three major indices all trading higher in the region of 0.6% in pre-market trading, at the time of writing.
Both the Dow and S&P ended the year at record highs on Thursday but the standout performer of 2020 was the Nasdaq which gained around 44% for the year.
In corporate news, Verizon (VZ) has settled its contract dispute with multimedia company Hearst Television after warning its Fios customers that the Hearst channels might go dark from January 1. Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. However, it has been reported that Hearst Television has started broadcasting its channels on Verizon’s fiber-optic networks in the US. Verizon shares were up around 0.8% in pre-market trading on Monday.
MGM Resorts (MGM) has reportedly made a second offer to acquire UK-based gambling group, Entain plc, as it attempts to penetrate the online gambling market. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the gambling landscape and the so-called “brick-and-mortar” casino industry has been forced to pivot their business models to include online options for their customers. Details of the revised offer are not known at this time. Both MGM and Entain have declined to comment on any proposal.
Shares in BP (BP) were 5% stronger in pre-market trading following an announcement on December 31 that gas deliveries from Azerbaijan to Europe via the newly completed Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) pipeline system were set to begin. The pipeline stretches 3,500 kilometers from Azerbaijan to Europe and is expected to supply the region with 16 billion cubic meters of gas.
Herbalife (HLF) has repurchased $600 million worth of its common stock back from billionaire Carl Icahn’s Icahn Enterprises at $48.05 per share. As part of a 2013 agreement, Herbalife agreed to give Icahn five board seats for as long as it held at least 14 million common shares. Icahn’s shareholding has now fallen below the threshold and all five directors resigned from Herbalife’s board on January 3. Icahn expressed his admiration of Herbalife’s products and business opportunities and said he looks forward to remaining a shareholder of the company. Icahn still holds about 8 million Herbalife shares, which amounts to approximately 6% of the company.
T-Mobile US (TMUS) last week reported its second security breach over the course of 2020. Hackers accessed customer proprietary network information (CPNI) and might have obtained its customers’ phone numbers and their call-related information data. T-Mobile, however, denied that the hackers retrieved names on the account, physical or email addresses, financial data, credit card information, social security numbers, tax ID, passwords, or PINs.
Nio (NIO) shares were up around 3% in pre-market trading as they look to start the year where they left off in 2020. China’s premium electric vehicle maker reported a 121% year-over-year rise in its December deliveries, which came in at 7,007 vehicles. The company will unveil its new sedan model and reveal its latest autonomous driving developments and other core technologies at Nio Day on January 9.