American stock markets were stimulated at the end of last week amid an uplifting July jobs report that sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average to yet another all-time closing high, this time at 22,092.81.
As we head into the fresh week, the second-quarter earnings season will churn back to life. However, the headlines this morning are outside of quarterly corporate results, with Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ZYNE) and Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) on the move for other reasons.
Here’s what you need to know heading into the Monday trading day.
Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc (ZYNE)
Shares of ZYNE — one of Wall Street’s best stories in the first half of the year that at one point sported roughly 300% 52-week gains — are plunging by nearly half this morning after the company announced that one of its two lead product candidates failed to meet a primary endpoint.
ZYN002 — a synthetic cannabinoid being tested as a treatment for epilepsy, osteoarthritis and Fragile X Syndrome — “did not demonstrate a statistically significant reduction of focal seizures during the treatment period compared to the baseline period for either the high or low dose cohorts compared to placebo” in its double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 STAR 1 trial.
Specifically, patients on a low dose of ZYN002 achieved an 18.4% median reduction in focal seizures compared to the baseline, and just a 14% reduction for patients receiving a high dose. The placebo achieved an 8.7% reduction.
The company says it will soon present top-line data from a trial testing ZYN002 as a treatment for osteoarthritis.
Zynerba has been hailed as one of a handful of “legitimate” cannabis-related stocks thanks to its listing on a major exchange and focus on pharmaceutical treatments. Still, Monday’s news is a major setback for the company, causing investors to flee ZYNE stock to the tune of about 48% in premarket trade. Should that hold, Zynerba would trade south of $8 — something it hasn’t done since mid-2016.
Alphabet Inc (GOOGL)
Alphabet responded over the weekend to a statement from one of its engineers condemning the company’s quest to add more women and minorities to make it more diverse.
The engineer — who has remained anonymous thus far — said the company should stop striving to make GOOGL a more diverse company. He specifically condemned women due to their “genetic differences.”
“These differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership,” the engineer said. “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.”
The letter sparked outcry from numerous women, some Google employees, some not. Google’s new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance Danielle Brown responded to this statement, noting that the company believes diversity and inclusion are key components to the company’s success.
“Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions,” she wrote. Brown added that such discourse needs to go hand-in-hand with the company’s code of conduct, policies and anti-discrimination laws, which promote equal employment opportunities.
She added that changing a company’s culture is a difficult thing, but she was hired to do exactly that.
GOOGL shares are up 19% year-to-date.
Sony Corp (ADR) (SNE)
Sony Pictures had a stinker of a weekend as one of its films underwhelmed in the box office, though shareholders don’t appear to be bothered.
The film adaptation to the first book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series — starring Idris Alba — was released Friday, raking in $19.5 million over the weekend. While the movie was the highest-grossing film in the U.S. and Canada of the weekend, analysts were looking for the film to bring in $20 million to $25 million over the three-day period.
The figure did come in ahead of Sony’s internal projection of $19 million, however.
Adrian Smith, the studio’s distribution chief, noted that there’s still plenty of summer left for the blockbuster to impress, and it has yet to hit plenty of international markets.
The Emoji Movie — another Sony Pictures film — came in third at the box office, raking in $12.4 million, but has been lambasted by critics.
SNE stock is tracking slightly higher this morning, continuing a 44% year-to-date run.