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3 Top Bank Stocks To Watch Today

Bank stocks to know as the fourth-quarter earnings season kicks off.
The post 3 Top Bank Stocks To Watch Today appeared first on Stock Market News, Quotes, Charts and Financial Information | StockMarket.com.

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3 Bank Stocks To Watch Reporting Earnings Today

With the end of the second trading week of 2022, investors are likely eyeing the top bank stocks in the stock market today. By and large, this would be thanks to some of the biggest U.S. banks kicking off the current earnings season. Notably, the current attention on the industry as a whole is higher than ever. On top of banks, arguably, setting the tone for earnings seasons, there is another factor to consider as well. Namely, investors across the board are likely eager to see how the Omicron coronavirus variant alongside rising inflation is weighing in on the economy now.

Not to mention, there are also the Federal Reserve’s plans to raise interest rates this year. As it stands, Fed members are already expecting three rate hikes in 2022 while some banks think there could be four. Nevertheless, an increase in interest rates would, naturally, serve to benefit banks. In fact, Federal Reserve policymakers recently signaled that they will start raising U.S. interest rates in March. This update comes from Fed Governor Lael Brainard on Thursday this week.

At the same time, some of the top names in the industry are not sitting idly by as well. For instance, we could take a look at the likes of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC). This week, it announced sweeping changes to its overdraft and non-sufficient fees while introducing a new cash flow forecasting solution. Both of which will ideally help the bank better serve its clients amidst rising inflation. Elsewhere, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is raising annual bonuses for its top-performing staff this year. As such, could one of these big banks reporting earnings today be worth watching in the stock market now?

Top Bank Stocks To Watch Right Now

JPMorgan Chase & Company

To begin with, we will be taking a look at JPMorgan Chase. In brief, JPMorgan is a leading financial service firm in the U.S. Among its banking industry peers, the firm is a leader in the global investment banking industry. The firm manages trillions in assets worldwide. Overall, JPMorgan provides a vast array of financial services. This ranges from serving consumers, and businesses of varying sizes to commercial banking alongside financial transaction processing and asset management.

In its latest quarterly report, JPMorgan posted an earnings per share of $3.33 on revenue of $30.35 billion. To highlight, this would be above consensus estimates of $3.01 and $29.9 billion respectively. Additionally, the company also notes that its total assets under management now add up to a whopping $3.1 trillion. This marks a sizable 15% year-over-year increase. CEO Jamie Dimon also notes that JPMorgan’s global investment banking fees are up by 37% year-over-year. The firm cites steady growth in its mergers & acquisitions division as one of the core reasons for this.

On top of that, the bank is also reporting positive year-over-year figures in its consumer-focused segments as well. This is evident from its Consumer & Community Banking sector reporting a year-over-year increase of 22% in client investment assets. Similarly, JPMorgan also reports that combined debit and credit card spending are up by 26% over the same time. Given all of this, will you be keeping a watchful eye on JPM stock?

bank stocks (JPM stock chart)
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

[Read More] Stock Market Today: Dow Jones, S&P 500 Down Today; JPMorgan Slides On Earnings

Wells Fargo & Company

Another banking titan that is on earnings watch today would be Wells Fargo. By the company’s estimates, it currently serves one in three U.S. households and over 10% of small businesses in the U.S. Furthermore, Wells Fargo also prides itself as being the leading middle-market banking provider in the region. As you can imagine it offers a variety of financial services as well. This includes but is not limited to banking, investments, mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance.

As it stands, WFC stock is currently up by over 10% year-to-date. Thanks to its latest quarterly earnings report, I could see this trend persisting. For the most part, Wells Fargo posted stellar figures across the board. Firstly, the bank reported an earnings per share of $1.25 for the quarter. This tops Wall Street’s estimates of $1.13. Secondly, the company raked in a total revenue of $20.85 billion, exceeding projections of $18.82 billion. If that wasn’t enough, Wells Fargo also saw its net income skyrocket by 86% year-over-year to a total of $3.09 billion.

According to CEO Charlie Scharf, the current recovery in the economy is a key growth driver for the quarter. Scharf notes “we saw increased consumer spending, higher investment banking fees, higher asset-based fees in our Wealth and Investment Management business, and strong equity gains in our affiliated venture capital and private equity businesses.” With all this in mind, would you consider adding WFC stock to your watchlist?

WFC stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

[Read More] Best Artificial Intelligence Stocks To Buy Right Now? 5 To Watch

Citigroup Inc.

Following that, we have Citigroup or Citi for short. In essence, the bank currently serves approximately 200 million customer accounts and operates in over 160 countries worldwide. From consumers, and corporations to governments and institutions, Citi serves a broad range of clients. Likewise, its financial services portfolio spans consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management.

More importantly, investors will likely want to know how Citi’s latest quarterly figures square up against the competition. Well, for one thing, the firm reportedly posted an earnings per share of $1.46 on revenue of $17 billion for the quarter. This surpasses consensus projections of $1.38 and $16.75 billion respectively. However, the company’s net income is down by 26% year-over-year at $3.2 billion. Explaining this drop, the bank cites an increase in overall expenses throughout the quarter. This also includes the “pre-tax impact” from the sale of its consumer banking businesses in Southeast Asia.

Providing insight into the company’s current plans moving forward is CEO Jane Fraser. Fraser highlights, “We continue to make steady progress on executing our strategy as demonstrated most recently by the signing of an agreement to sell four consumer businesses in Asia. We are also aligning our organization and reporting structure with our strategy, including the creation of the Personal Banking and Wealth Management and Legacy Franchises segments. This will make it easier for our investors to understand the performance of our core businesses and optimize the businesses we have chosen to exit.” With Citigroup looking to streamline its business, would you consider C stock a viable long-term play?

C stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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Spread & Containment

A dog has caught monkeypox from one of its owners, highlighting risk of the virus infecting pets and wild animals

The monkeypox virus can easily spread between humans and animals. A veterinary virologist explains how the virus could go from people to wild animals in…

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A dog in Paris has become the first case of a pet contracting monkeypox from its owners. Cavan Images via Getty Images

A dog in Paris has caught monkeypox from one of its owners, both of whom were infected with the virus, according to a scientific paper published on Aug. 10, 2022. This is the first case of a dog contracting the monkeypox virus through direct contact with skin lesions on a human.

I am a veterinary pathologist and virologist who has been working with poxviruses for over 20 years. I study how these viruses evade the immune system and am working on modifying poxviruses to prevent infection as well as treat other diseases, including cancer.

With monkeypox spreading in humans throughout the world, my colleagues and I have begun to worry about the increased risk of monkeypox spreading from humans to animals. If monkeypox spreads to wildlife species in the U.S. and Europe, the virus could become endemic in these places – where it has historically been absent – resulting in more frequent outbreaks. The report of the infected dog shows that there is a decent chance these fears could become a reality.

A microscope image of a bunch blue circles in a brown-colored cell.
The monkeypox virus – the blue circles in this image of an infected cell – is a poxvirus similar to smallpox and cowpox and can easily infect many different species. NIAID/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY

A species-jumping virus

Monkeypox is a poxvirus in the same family as variola – the virus that causes smallpox – and cowpox viruses and likely evolved in animals before jumping to humans. Monkeypox causes painful lesions in both humans and animals and, in rare cases, can be deadly. Researchers have found the monkeypox virus in several species of wild rodents, squirrels and primates in Africa, where the virus is endemic. Monkeypox does not need to mutate or evolve at all to be able to infect many different species. It can easily spread from animals to people and back again.

Though there is a fair bit of research on monkeypox, a lot more work has been done on cowpox, a similar zoonotic poxvirus that is endemic in Europe. Over the years, there have been several reports of cowpox infection spreading from animals to humans in Europe.

From people to animals

Until recently, most monkeypox infections occurred in specific areas of Africa where some wildlife species act as reservoirs for the virus. These outbreaks are usually contained quickly through isolation of infected individuals and vaccinating people around the infected individual. The current situation is very different though.

With nearly 40,000 cases globally as of Aug. 17, 2022 – and more than 12,500 cases in the U.S. alone – monkeypox is now widespread within the human population. The risk of any one person transmitting the virus to an animal – particularly a wild one – is small, but the more people are infected, the greater the chances. It’s a numbers game.

There are a number of ways viruses can transfer from animals to people – called spillover – and from people back to animals – called spillback. Since monkeypox is most easily spread through direct skin-to-skin contact, it is a bit more difficult to transmit between species than COVID-19, but certainly possible.

The case of the dog in Paris provides a clear example of how cuddling or being close to a pet can spread the virus. Previous studies on poxviruses like monkeypox have shown that they can stay active in fecal matter. This means that there is a risk of wild animals, likely rodents, catching it from human waste.

A grey rat.
There are a number of species that host monkeypox in Africa – like this gambian rat. Monkeypox can spread from humans to many other animals, including dogs and likely cats and other species of rodents. Louisvarley/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

The monkeypox virus is also present in saliva. While more research needs to be done, it is potentially possible that an infected person could discard food that would then be eaten by a rodent.

The chances of any one of these events happening is extremely low. But I and other virologists worry that with more people becoming infected, there is a greater risk that rodents or other animals will come into contact with urine, feces or saliva that is contaminated with the virus.

Finally, there is the risk of people giving monkeypox to a pet, which then passes it on to other animals. One case study in Germany described an outbreak of cowpox that was caused when someone took an infected cat to a veterinary clinic and four other cats were subsequently infected. It is feasible that an infected household pet could spread the virus to wild animals somehow.

How to help

One of the key reasons that the World Health Organization was able to eradicate smallpox is that it only infects people, so there were no animal reservoirs that could re-introduce the virus to human populations.

Monkeypox is zoonotic and already has several animal reservoirs, though these are currently limited to Africa. But if monkeypox escapes into wild animal populations in the U.S., Europe or other locations, there will be always be potential for animals to spread it back to humans. With this in mind, there are a number of things people can do to reduce the risks with regard to animals.

As with any infectious disease, be informed about the signs and symptoms of monkeypox and how it is transmitted. If you suspect you have the virus, contact a doctor and isolate from other people.

As a veterinarian, I strongly encourage anyone with monkeypox to protect your pets. The case in Paris shows that dogs can get infected from contact with their owners, and it is likely that many other species, including cats, are susceptible, too. If you have monkeypox, try to have other people take care of your animals for as long as lesions are present. And if you think your pet has a monkeypox infection, be sure to contact a veterinarian so they can test the lesion and provide care when needed.

Even though monkeypox has been declared a public health emergency, it is unlikely to directly affect most people. Taking precautionary steps can protect you and your pets and will hopefully prevent monkeypox from getting into wildlife in the U.S., too.

Amy Macneill does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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International

A-levels: A grades are up compared to pre-pandemic results

The pandemic has has a serious impact on school pupils – but a record number have applied to university.

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Fewer students are getting their first choice of university than in 2021. Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

The 2022 A-level results are in, and the number of students receiving A or A* grades has fallen – down by 8.4% on 2021.

For the first time since 2019, A-level results are being decided by formal exams. Students were warned that grades were likely to be lower than in 2020 and 2021, when cancelled exams and teacher assessments in A-levels led to record high results. Nevertheless, the proportion of students receiving A grades is up from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

A busy end to the admissions round is under way for universities and students, and the next steps for students still living with the impact of the pandemic are becoming clearer.

In 2021, some universities were over subscribed and had to offer significant incentives for students to defer their places. While the number of students in 2022 accepted on a UK university course – 425,830 – is higher than in 2019 and the second highest on record, it is 2% lower than in 2021. Just a few days before the results were out, thousands of students did not yet hold an offer of an university place.

Over the past two years, students studying qualifications, whether BTEC, T-level or A-level, have had to cope with the consequences of the pandemic for a significant proportion of their course. This has included school closures and remote lessons, social isolation, illness and increased levels of mental stress.

Highest number of applications

Nevertheless, 2022 has seen the highest ever numbers of applications to higher education, with 44% of 18 year olds applying. This number includes record numbers of students from areas of the country with historically low participation in higher education. It demonstrates that many young people believe higher education can make a difference to their future opportunities.

For the lucky ones who get the grades to gain a place at their first choice of university, planning for their degree course starts right away. A record number of Scottish students have already been accepted to their first choice of university.

The best advice for those students who don’t receive confirmation that they have been accepted by their first choice university is to ring the university, who will have staff on hand to explore their options.

For students who haven’t got a university place, it is still possible to explore options though clearing – which allows students without offers to find places on university courses that haven’t been fully subscribed. Students in this position should try to keep calm, write down their options and avoid quick decisions.

For those young people who do go to university, there will be challenges. With the cost of living for all rising rapidly, people on a lower income – as many students are – will feel the pinch of higher bills for food or rent.

Support from universities

The pandemic saw a serious and concerning rise in mental health issues affecting young people. Universities need to be ready to give holistic support to students as they transition into university and settle into undergraduate life. This means support for academic transition needs to be delivered in the context of good available support for mental health and wellbeing.

However, Universities UK, an advocacy groups for universities, has recently pointed out the wide range of benefits for those who study for a degree, including the £9,500 more per year on average graduates in England earn compared with non-graduates. It also draws attention to the value of degrees to improve the life chances of young people, to build skills and to contribute to society.

For many young people, getting a degree gives them access to a vocation such as teaching or working as a health professional. For others it is a path to travel and adventure. For many, the university journey is a place where young people find their tribe and begin to understand their identity.

For the class of 22, making it to university might mean life-changing opportunities. Given the challenges and restrictions of the last few years, this has never been more important.

Helena Gillespie receives funding from the European Union.

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Government

Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) To Acquire Global Blood Therapeutics For $5 Billion

According to sources familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) was in advanced discussions to acquire pharmaceutical…

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According to sources familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) was in advanced discussions to acquire pharmaceutical company Global Blood Therapeutics (NASDAQ: GBT) for $5 billion.

Pfizer, too, acquired Global Blood Therapeutics 

Pfizer wants to close a deal soon, but there are still other interested parties, according to the article.

Global Blood Therapeutics, which manufactures Oxbryta, the blood disorder medication, saw its shares jump 44%  on Friday afternoon to a two-year high. As of Thursday’s closing, the company’s market cap was $3.12 billion.

A spokesman for Global Blood stated the company does not “comment on market rumors or speculation,” while Pfizer declined to respond on the matter.

With plenty of cash left over after selling its COVID-19 vaccine, New York-based Pfizer is searching for deals that may generate billions of dollars annual sales by 2030.

Its $11.6 billion acquisition of migraine medication manufacturer Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding (NASDAQ: BHVN) in May was the most recent in a series of purchases that also included Trillium Therapeutics and Arena Pharmaceuticals in recent years.

Oxbryta received approval last year for sickle cell disease management 

In 2019, the US government approved Global Blood’s Oxbryta to manage sickle cell disease in individuals aged 12 and over. The oral medication was approved in December 2021 to treat the illness in younger children. The drug’s sales increased by almost 50% to $194.7 million in 2021.

After a gloomy start to the calendar year, when a lack of significant purchases and clinical-stage treatment failures lowered investor morale and restricted funding, the biotech dealmaking pace has recently picked up again.

Also, Amgen Inc (NASDAQ: AMGN) also decided to purchase ChemoCentryx Inc on Thursday for $3.7 billion to obtain access to a possible breakthrough medication for inflammatory illnesses. AstraZeneca’s $39 billion acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals in 2020 has put the realm of immune diseases in the limelight. The deal, which was announced before trading opened, will also give the corporation control of at least two investigational immune disorders medicines.

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