Two drugmakers at the forefront of the industry's efforts to fight the novel coronavirus are exploring a combined future. AstraZeneca, co-developer of one of the fastest-moving experimental coronavirus vaccines, has made a preliminary approach to Gilead Sciences, the only company to have received FDA emergency authorization for its COVID-19 treatment remdesivir. Formal talks are not yet underway, but if combined, the two companies would have a market capitalization of $232B, based on today’s opening share prices. (SA)
Americans under lockdown have spent billions of dollars on DIY beauty products as the closure of hairdressers and nail salons spurs amateur cosmetology. Clippers, hair dyes and nail polish are among a wide range of related items whose sales surged both online and in those stores that have remained open in the 12 weeks since the start of March, according to figures from data provider Nielsen. Overall US health and beauty sales in the period rose by $3.74bn, or 13 per cent, from a year ago to $32.2bn. (FT)
OPEC+ agreed to a one-month extension to the production cuts introduced to counter the pandemic-led oil price crash. There was also agreement on a stricter approach to monitoring member production to control the "Pinocchio" problem -- where some states were pumping far more oil than allowed. Crude investors welcomed the deal, pushing Brent above $43 a barrel this morning, while West Texas Intermediate traded around $40. Saudi Arabia was quick to increase prices to its customers in some of the biggest hikes in two decades. (Bloomberg)
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.