Check out the companies making headlines before the bell Wednesday:
Pfizer (PFE), BioNTech (BNTX) — Shares of Pfizer and BioNTech rose 3.4% and 5.8%, respectively, in the premarket after the U.K. approved the Covid-19 vaccine designed by the two companies. The rollout is expected to begin next week, with elderly people and medical workers first in line to receive the vaccine.
Salesforce (CRM), Slack Technologies (WORK) — Salesforce confirmed earlier reports that it was buying Slack. Salesforce will pay over $27 billion in cash and stock for the messaging and workflow platform, or about $45.86 per share. Slack shares dipped 1.2%, and Salesforce pulled back by 5.9%.
Palantir Technologies (PLTR) — A Morgan Stanley analyst downgraded Palantir to "underweight" from "equal weight," noting that "the risk/reward paradigm shifts decidedly negative for the shares" after surging since its IPO "with very little change in the fundamental story." Palantir shares dropped 10% in the premarket.
Thermo Fisher (TMO) — Thermo Fisher was initiated by Goldman Sachs with a "buy" rating, with the bank calling the company "a core, long term holding due to a durable growth algorithm driven by sector leading exposure to the fast-growing BioPharma and Clinical/Diagnostics end markets and a revenue mix that is over 75% recurring."
Verizon (VZ) — Verizon shares rose 0.6% after MoffettNathanson upgraded them to "buy" from "neutral," citing the potential for higher average revenue per user in 2021. The firm also raised its price target on Verizon to $66 per share, up from $59 per share. The new target implies a 12-month upside of 9%.
Merck (MRK) — The drugmaker announced it sold its equity investment in Moderna (MRNA), following the biotech stock's massive move higher in 2020. Moderna shares have gotten a boost from their developments in the search for a coronavirus vaccine and are up more than 600% in 2020.
Disney (DIS) — An analyst at Citi hiked his 12-month price target on the media giant to a Street high of $175 per share, implying a 17% upside from Tuesday's close of 149.44 per share. "We continue to expect a measured recovery within Disney's core businesses … At the same time, given the continued momentum of Disney's streaming apps, we are raising our outlook for the firm's DTC segment," the analyst said.
Walmart (WMT) — The retail giant announced it is dropping its $35 online shipping minimum for Walmart+ members. "Being able to toss an item into your cart, regardless the total, and checkout right away lets them knock little things off their to do list in no time," Walmart Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside said in a news release.