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CVS Health earnings top estimates as Covid vaccinations, testing boost drugstore sales

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CVS Health earnings top estimates as Covid vaccinations, testing boost drugstore sales


People walk by a CVS Pharmacy store in the Manhattan borough of New York City.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

CVS Health reported a strong first quarter and raised its full-year forecast, as customers came to its stores for Covid-19 vaccinations, tests and prescriptions.

The company has been a major provider of Covid-19 vaccines and recently began offering same-day appointments for the shots.

Shares of the company were up 3% early Tuesday in premarket trading.

Here’s what the company reported for the fiscal first quarter ended March 31, compared with what analysts were expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: $2.04, adjusted vs. $1.72 expected
  • Revenue: $69.1 billion vs. $68.39 billion expected

The health-care company and drugstore chain reported net income of $2.22 billion, or $1.68 per share, up from $2.01 billion, or $1.53 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, it earned $2.04 per share, more than the $1.72 per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Revenue rose to $69.1 billion from $66.8 billion a year earlier. That outpaced analysts’ expectations of $68.39 billion.

The company raised its guidance for the year. It said it expects 2021 earnings will range between $6.24 to $6.36 per share, but after adjustments it expects to earn between $7.56 to $7.68 per share.

It reiterated that its full-year cash flow from operations is projected to range between $12 billion to $12.5 billion.

As of Monday’s close, shares of CVS were up nearly 14% this year. They closed at $77.69 on Monday, bringing the company’s market value to $101.97 billion.

Read full release here.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.



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Trading bounce back helps French bank Societe Generale smash analyst expectations in first quarter

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Trading bounce back helps French bank Societe Generale smash analyst expectations in first quarter


A logo outside a Societe Generale SA bank branch in Paris, France.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

LONDON — French bank Societe Generale reported net income that beat analyst expectations for the first quarter of 2021, getting a boost from a strong performance in its global markets division.

Net income for the first quarter came in at 814 million euros ($977 million), the lender said Thursday. Analysts were expecting a net income of 204 million euros.

The company also surprised markets at the end of the four quarter with a net income of 470 million euros, and well above the 252 million euros estimated by analysts ahead of the results.

The stock is up nearly 40% year-to-date.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated shortly.



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China suspends economic dialogue mechanism with Australia as relations curdle By Reuters

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China suspends economic dialogue mechanism with Australia as relations curdle By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Australian flag flutters in front of the Great Hall of the People during a welcoming ceremony for Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (not in picture) in Beijing, China, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee

BEIJING (Reuters) – China “indefinitely” suspended on Thursday all activity under a China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, its state economic planner said, the latest setback for their strained relations.

“Recently, some Australian Commonwealth Government officials launched a series of measures to disrupt the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia out of Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination,” China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a short statement on the decision.

The commission did not say in the statement what specific measures prompted the action.

The Australian dollar fell sharply on the news, and was as low as 0.7701 to the U.S. dollar from Wednesday’s $0.7747.

Bilateral ties were strained in 2018 when Australia became the first country to publicly ban Chinese tech giant Huawei from its 5G network. Relations worsened last year when Australia called for an independent investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus, prompting trade reprisals from China.

Australia’s trade minister, Dan Tehan, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on China’s decision.

The last meeting under the mechanism, intended as a framework for economic cooperation, was in Beijing in 2017, when Australia’s trade minister signed an agreement on cooperation on Belt and Road projects in third-party countries.

Australia has, however, declined to sign agreements on direct participation in China’s flagship foreign policy initiative.

In April, Canberra cancelled two Belt and Road deals struck by its state of Victoria, prompting the Chinese embassy to warn that already tense bilateral ties were bound to worsen.

Reuters reported this week that Australia was reviewing the 99-year lease of a port in its north to a Chinese firm, according to a government source.

Australia’s federal parliament granted veto power over foreign deals by states in December amid the deepening diplomatic dispute with China, which has imposed a series of trade sanctions on Australian exports ranging from wine to coal.

In the 12 months to March, Australia exported A$149 billion ($115.04 billion) worth of goods to China, excluding services, of which iron ore was by far the largest product.

(Graphic: Australia exports to China vs the rest of the world – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/jbypryjnjve/AustraliaExportstoChinavsRoW.png)

A trader said he expected the latest strains would not have a major impact on the iron ore trade.

“We believe the iron ore trading relationship between Australia and China will remain ring-fenced in relation to current political tensions between the two nations,” said Atilla Widnell, managing director at Singapore-based Navigate Commodities Ptd Ltd.

“This is a co-dependent relationship whereby either party cannot survive without the other.”

($1 = 1.2952 Australian dollars)

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Copper is ‘the new oil’ and low inventories could push it to $20,000 per ton, analysts say

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Copper is ‘the new oil’ and low inventories could push it to ,000 per ton, analysts say


A worker labels copper products at Truong Phu cable factory in northern Hai Duong province, outside Hanoi, Vietnam August 11, 2017.

Kham | Reuters

The world risks “running out of copper” amid widening supply and demand deficits, according to Bank of America, and prices could hit $20,000 per metric ton by 2025.

In a note Tuesday, Bank of America commodity strategist Michael Widmer highlighted inventories measured in tons are now at levels seen 15 years ago, implying that stocks currently cover just over three weeks of demand. This comes as the global economy is beginning to open up and reflate.

“Linked to that, we forecast copper market deficits, and further inventory declines, this year and next,” Widmer said.

“With (London Metal Exchange) inventories close to the pinch-point at which time spreads can move violently, there is a risk backwardation, driven by a rally in nearby prices, may increase.”

Backwardation is when an underlying asset is trading at a higher price than the futures market for that asset.

Widmer also highlighted that a rise in volatility resulting from falling inventories was not without precedent, since nickel shortages in LME warehouses in 2006/7 drove nickel prices more than 300% higher.

Given the fundamental environment and the depleted inventories, Widmer suggested that copper may spike to $13,000/t in the coming years after notching $10,000 last week for the first time in a decade.

Copper prices stood at just under $4.54 per pound as of 5:30 a.m. London time on Thursday, up 30% for the session.

After deficits in 2021 and 2022, BofA expects the copper market to rebalance in 2023 and 2024 before fresh shortfalls and a further draw down on inventories kick in from 2025.

“In our view, scrap supply is critical and our analysis suggests that scrap usage at smelters/refiners could increase from around 4,200t in 2016 to 6,700t by 2025,” Widmer said.

“If our expectation of increased supply in secondary material, a non-transparent market, did not materialize, inventories could deplete within the next three years, giving rise to even more violent price swings that could take the red metal above $20,000/t ($9.07/lb).”

‘The new oil’

Along with the broader economic recovery, demand for copper is also being boosted by its vital role in a number of rapidly growing industrial sectors, such as electric vehicle batteries and semiconductor wiring.

David Neuhauser, founder and managing director of U.S. hedge fund Livermore Partners, told CNBC on Wednesday that metals were receiving a general tailwind from a weaker dollar and increasing moves toward green infrastructure.

Commodity prices rose 3% in April, taking the global index up 80% since April 2020, and HSBC commodity analysts highlighted in a note Wednesday that demand for copper is being supported by investment in electrification as emission reduction strategies are further bolstered by policymakers.

Copper remains Livermore’s favorite commodity at present, Neuhauser said.

“I think copper is the new oil and I think copper, for the next five to 10 years, is going to look tremendous with the potential for $20,000 per metric ton,” Neuhauser said.

“We think there are some very solid small cap companies that have massive production potential, and valuations are attractive, and Livermore could make great return on investment.”



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