Stocks making the biggest moves midday: United Airlines, Apple, Fastly and more

Union Pacific CEO on 2021 outlook, latest earnings and more
Union Pacific CEO on 2021 outlook, latest earnings and more

Here are the stocks making headlines in midday trading.

United Airlines – Shares of the major U.S. airline tumbled 5.7% after the company posted a $1.9 billion loss for the fourth quarter. United suffered its fourthly quarterly loss in a row and warned that sales would continue to suffer in the early part of 2021 as the pandemic drags on. CEO Scott Kirby said a "critical mass" of people need to be vaccinated before there's a recovery.

SolarEdge – The smart energy technology company gained 6.7% after Morgan Stanley initiated coverage on the stock with an overweight rating. In a note titled "The Sun Keeps on Shining," the firm said SolarEdge should continue to gain market share in a "fast growing space."

Apple – The tech giant jumped more than 3% after top analyst Katy Huberty from Morgan Stanley said she expects a record December quarter earnings report. The analyst said the bank's channel examination of Apple's portfolio of products and services, driven by 5G adoption and the working from home trend.

Fastly – Shares of the cloud computing services provider jumped 6.8% after Oppenheimer upgraded the stock to outperform from perform. The Wall Street firm said its analysis suggested record traffic volumes and noted that consumer behavior has shifted to cheaper and better e-commerce and streaming.

Union Pacific – The railroad company dipped more than 4% following its fourth quarter results. The company earned $2.36 per share excluding items during the period. According to estimates from FactSet, analysts were expecting the company to earn $2.25 per share. "While the economic outlook for 2021 remains uncertain, we will build off our solid 2020 performance to produce continued strong productivity through operational excellence. We expect our enhanced service product will support both solid core pricing gains while also increasing our share of the freight transportation market," CEO Lance Fritz said in a statement.

Discover Financial — Shares of the financial services company lost 5.7% despite the company topping analyst expectations for quarterly results. Discover Financial reported earnings of $2.59 per share, above estimates of $2.42 per share, according to Refinitiv. Revenue came in in-line with expectations at $2.82 billion. The company expects modestly positive loan growth this year, but also sees an increase in credit losses during the second half of this year.

Exxon – The oil giant slid more than 2.9% after Jefferies initiated coverage on the stock with an underperform rating and $39 target. "We don't see Exxon covering its dividend on an organic basis until at least 2023," the firm said in a note to clients.

KB Home, Lennar, D.R. Horton — Shares of homebuilding stocks rose on Thursday, bringing the iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF up 1.5%, after housing starts data beat expectations. KB Home rose 1.7% and Lennar popped 1.3%. D.R. Horton and PulteGroup rose 1.9%.

Ford — The auto stock gained 6% after rising more than 8% on Wednesday, continuing a strong stretch for legacy automakers. Deutsche Bank named Ford a short-term buy on Wednesday, saying the company could announced better-than-expected guidance for 2021 when it reports earnings next month.

Capri Holdings — Shares rose slightly on Thursday after Deutsche Bank upgraded the multinational fashion company to buy from hold. The Wall Street firm said the Jimmy Choo-parent company is one  of the most "intriguing" stories in retail.

— CNBC's Maggie Fitzgerald, Yun Li and Pippa Stevens contributed to this story.