I feel like I should just keep writing the headline “Stocks keep edging higher.” After all, both the S&P 500 (eight) and Nasdaq Composite (nine) managed to extend their streak of “up” days yesterday – and we’re seeing muted gains in the early going today.
Gold and silver are a bit weaker, while crude oil is bouncing back from a multi-month low. Treasuries are slipping in price, while the dollar is flat.
Studios and the SAG-AFTRA union that represents Hollywood actors finally reached a deal to end the union’s walkout. Production of television shows and movies has been essentially shut down due to the 118-day strike, the longest since SAG-AFTRA was founded 90 years ago. Actors reportedly will get higher compensation from streaming service output, increased health care benefits, and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-related protections.
Speaking of Hollywood, shares of Walt Disney Co. (DIS) are trading higher after the owner of movie studios, television networks, and theme parks beat estimates in the fiscal fourth quarter that ended Sept. 30. Earnings per share came in at 82 cents, topping the 71-cent estimate. Disney boosted its cost-cutting target, while also besting estimates for Disney+ subscriber growth. But shares of the entertainment conglomerate have a big canyon to climb out of; They’re down 51% in the last two years.
NVO, LLY (YTD % Change)
Competition is heating up in the weight loss drug race. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) to sell its anti-diabetes drug Mounjaro for weight loss applications under the brand name Zepbound. That will put more pressure on Novo Nordisk A/S (NVO), which has been reaping billions of dollars in sales of its drug Wegovy.
Wall Street is projecting that sales of all drugs in the wildly popular weight loss category could ultimately hit $100 billion. Insurers are facing pressure to cover more patients, despite the $1,000-plus-per-month list cost of treatment. Meanwhile, doctors and patients love the efficacy of the drugs and their ability to lower overall health risk in obese individuals. NVO has gained 50% year-to-date, while LLY has surged 69%.