U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggested at the end of last week that an interest-rate hike could be on tap for later this year. The result was declines for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500, though the Nasdaq got away with a slight uptick.
The automotive industry was busy during the weekend, with both Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) releasing news. Meanwhile, Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) is making a small splash on Monday morning.
Here’s what you need to know:
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (INO)
INO shares are on pace to extend their end-of-week gains from last Friday thanks to the launch of a Zika vaccine trial in Puerto Rico.
Inovio created the vaccine, GLS-5700, in partnership with GeneOne Life Science Inc. The test is being conducted on 160 subjects in Puerto Rico, which already has given Zika public healthy emergency status. Per an Inovio press release, “The CDC estimates Zika will infect more than 25% of the Puerto Rican population by year end, providing the potential for this study’s placebo control design to provide exploratory signals of vaccine efficacy.”
In June, Inovio became the first company to have conducted a human trial for a Zika product.
INO isn’t the only company making Zika-related headlines today, though. Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:RHHBY) just got the OK from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an “emergency use authorization” on a Zika test. Roche molecular diagnostics head Uwe Oberlaender said, “The LightMix Zika test is an easy-to-use molecular diagnostic test that enables healthcare professionals to quickly detect the virus.”
INO shares are up 4% in early Monday trading.
Ford Motor Company (F)
The Wall Street Journal over the weekend outlined Ford’s struggles in China of late.
According to the report, a backlog of unsold Kuga crossover vehicles “is starting to stack up on dealership lots.” The Kuga, released three years ago, is off by about 18% year-over-year in unit sales for the first half of 2016.
While Ford has made a number of improvements to the Kuga, Ford’s real challenge is stacking up against low-priced domestic offerings, including the top-selling Haval H6 by Great Wall Motor Co. The H6 starts at less than $14,000, according to the WSJ.
The news is just another sour point for Ford investors that have watched F shares struggle to a 12 percent decline in 2016. Shares have bounced up and down for most of the year, most recently collapsing in late July after its second-quarter earnings report.
And speaking of rival General Motors …
General Motors Company (GM)
GM stock isn’t getting any help this morning after the company issued a recall affecting 368,000 vehicles.
The move is related to a device connected to the cars’ windshield wipers, which could be defective. The GM creations were made with ball joints that could corrode, becoming futile over time.
The company will pay for any costs necessary to repair the vehicles. How they will be repaired is still being worked out by GM.
The recall affects the 2013 models of the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain.
GM, like rival Ford, is off in 2016, though GM’s declines are a bit more muted at just 7% for the year-to-date.
As of this writing, Karl Utermohlen did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.