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J&J, Morgan Stanley, Coinbase: Stocks That Defined the Week

By Francesca Fontana 

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson's rollout of its Covid-19 vaccine has hit another snag. U.S. health authorities Tuesday recommended a pause in the use of J&J's shot after finding that six women who got the vaccine had developed blood clots and one died. The development comes after a quality lapse at a manufacturer recently affected about 15 million doses of the vaccine's main ingredient. J&J shares added 0.3% Wednesday.

Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft is extending its run of big acquisitions. The tech giant has agreed to buy artificial-intelligence company Nuance Communications Inc. The $16 billion all-cash deal is Microsoft's second-largest acquisition under Chief Executive Satya Nadella, after the company in 2016 spent about $26 billion for professional network LinkedIn. The pursuit of Nuance comes as rivals Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google might be distracted by antitrust probes that could potentially hobble their abilities to strike deals. The acquisition is also the latest sign that the next battleground for Big Tech will be in healthcare, an industry whose need to embrace data and software was underscored by the pandemic. Microsoft shares rose 1% Tuesday.

Coinbase Global Inc.

Coinbase made a splash in its market debut Wednesday. The cryptocurrency exchange fetched an $85 billion valuation, a watershed moment for an industry that began a decade ago as an experiment in digital money. Shares of Coinbase, the first major bitcoin-focused company to test the U.S. public market, opened at $381 on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. The exchange had set a reference price of $250 on Tuesday, but no trades were executed at that price. Coinbase went public through a direct listing under the ticker symbol COIN. Founded in 2012, the company has seen its profitability explode amid a rally in the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Coinbase shares ended at $328.28 on Wednesday, up 31% from its reference price.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing is setting up for soaring chip demand. The world's largest contract semiconductor maker said Thursday that it would increase its investment budget and raise its revenue-growth forecast for 2021, a sign of confidence that strong global chip demand will continue. The company's heftier investment budget comes as its global competitors also move to beef up production capacity during a widespread chip shortage that TSMC expects to extend into 2022. Intel Corp. recently announced a $20 billion investment to build two new chip factories in the U.S. starting in 2024, while Samsung Electronics Co. said it plans to invest about $116 billion by 2030 to diversify its semiconductor production capabilities. American depositary shares of TSMC fell 2.1% on Thursday.

Delta Air Lines Inc.

Delta Air Lines sees clearer skies ahead. The airline on Thursday signaled the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is likely behind it, expecting travel demand to keep gaining steam in the coming months. Delta reported a net loss of $1.2 billion for the first quarter, but said its operation began generating cash again last month for the first time in a year. As more people have received Covid-19 vaccinations, interest in travel has returned. Delta said that its net sales -- the difference between new ticket sales and refunds -- doubled from January to March. With domestic leisure bookings at 85% of pre-pandemic levels, Delta believes it is on track to potentially turn a profit this summer. Delta shares lost 2.8% Thursday.

ViacomCBS Inc.

Simon & Schuster won't distribute a book written by a Louisville, Ky., police officer involved in the Breonna Taylor shooting. The publisher, a unit of ViacomCBS, said Thursday that it wouldn't distribute the book acquired by its client Post Hill Press LLC, an independent, conservative publisher that prints its books and usually uses Simon & Schuster as its outside distributor to get them into the hands of retailers and wholesalers. This is the second time this year Simon & Schuster, which ViacomCBS is selling to German media giant Bertelsmann SE, has made such a decision. In early January, the publisher said it wouldn't publish a coming book by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley. ViacomCBS shares rose 0.3% Friday.

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley lost $911 million when Archegos Capital Management imploded last month, tarnishing its record-setting quarter. The euphoric market conditions of early 2021 helped push the bank and its Wall Street rivals to big earnings in the recent quarter, and the bank on Friday reported a quarterly profit of $4.1 billion. But the record performance across many of Morgan Stanley's businesses was offset by credit and trading losses it booked following a fire sale of more than $30 billion of stocks tied to Archegos, the family office run by former Tiger Asia manager Bill Hwang. Morgan Stanley shares fell 2.8% Friday.

Write to Francesca Fontana at francesca.fontana@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 16, 2021 19:06 ET (23:06 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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