Novavax Jumps, Viacom Stock Surge Continues

One year after the World Health Organization declared the beginning of the pandemic, 10-year Treasury yields edged higher once more, nearly hitting 52-week highs.

Consumer sentiment also came in on a strong note in March, clocking in at a reading of 83 against February’s reading of 76.8.

Stocks finished a volatile week on a generally higher note, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq finishing as the only one of the three major indices to post a loss on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 293 points, or 0.9%, to finish at 32,778.

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Novavax spikes. One of the leading names in the vaccine race, Novavax (ticker: NVAX), saw shares rise 8.1% following news that its COVID-19 vaccine is 96% effective against the original strain and 86% effective against a more recent and contagious strain found in the U.K.

Viacom continues momentous rally. ViacomCBS ( VIAC) finished as the best performer in the S&P 500 on Friday, jumping 10.3% as the media and entertainment giant rides momentum from CBS’s blockbuster interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Shares rose 27% over the last five trading days alone.

VIAC is also a top performer in the 500-stock index year to date, rising more than 150%. Viacom’s transition from a run-of-the mill portfolio of cable networks to a player in the streaming wars, in addition to an improving economy and a better outlook for ad spending, has buoyed shares recently.

Another larger tailwind at Viacom’s back has been the recent shift from growth stocks to value stocks, as a rotation into more conservatively valued names begins in earnest.

Ulta slips. Shares of Ulta Beauty ( ULTA) slipped on Friday, losing 8.4%. The company’s longtime CEO, Mary Dillon, is stepping down in June, and Ulta’s 2021 projections for earnings per share and comparable sales growth both disappointed.

On Wall Street, the name of the game is all about expectations, so it’s no surprise a miss on projections would ding a high-flyer like Ulta.

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