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BioNTech shares nosedive after Q4 print

 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Today’s headlines

What’s happening: Shares of BioNTech SE tumbled on Wednesday, after the company released its fourth-quarter results.

What happened: The covid-19 vaccine maker reported weaker-than-expected profits and sales and for the latest quarter on Wednesday.

BioNTech’s stock plummeted to its weakest level in three years on Wednesday, with investors being particularly disappointed with the 2024 guidance.

How were the results: The Mainz, Germany-based company reported a sharp decline in both sales and earnings for the latest quarter.

  • Sales slumped 65% to €1.48 billion in the fourth quarter, from €4.28 billion in the year-earlier period. The figure in US dollar terms of $1.59 billion came in short of Wall Street expectations of $1.99 billion.
  • GAAP earnings dipped to €1.90 per share, from €9.26 per share in the year-ago quarter. In US dollar terms, earnings stood at $2.04 per share, missing the consensus estimates of $2.64 per share.

Why it matters: The covid-19 vaccine developed jointly by BioNTech and Pfizer was widely used during the pandemic. However, covid vaccine makers have been struggling in recent years despite announcing the launch of booster shots that target newer virus strains.

The German biotech firm delivered more than 400 million covid-19 vaccine doses globally during 2023, including the XBB.1.5 variant-adapted vaccine.

For the full year 2023, BioNTech reported a 90% decline in net profits to €0.9 billion, with fully diluted earnings of €3.83 per share.

“Looking ahead to 2024, we will maintain a prudent capital allocation strategy as we invest and execute in our maturing pipeline and prepare for our first potential oncology launches,” CFO Jens Holstein said during the earnings call.

BioNTech guided to 2024 revenues of €2.5 billion to €3.1 billion. Management cautioned, however, that the achievement of these figures would depend on regulatory developments.

In January, Pfizer had said its covid-19 shot, Comirnaty, had plunged 54% to $5.36 billion during the fourth quarter and projected $5 billion in Comirnaty sales in 2024.

How shares responded: BioNTech’s stock closed down 4.4% at $90.00 on Wednesday, after plummeting to its weakest level in three years earlier in the session. The stock has lost around 20% year-to-date.

What to watch: Investors will watch developments around BioNTech’s first oncology launch, which is expected in 2026. Earlier this year, the company had projected its return to revenue growth in 2025.

The markets today

Crude oil will be in focus today ahead of the EIA’s (Energy Information Administration) data on natural gas stockpiles

Context: Crude oil prices settled lower on Wednesday, retreating from five-month highs.

Details: The latest report from the US showed a decline in domestic crude oil stockpiles. Crude inventories in the US fell by 2 million barrels in the week ended March 15, versus market estimates of a decline of 2.7 million barrels.

Gasoline stockpiles contracted by 3.3 million barrels, much higher than market expectations for a decline of 1.9 million barrels. Meanwhile, distillate stockpiles rose by 600,000 barrels, versus market estimates of a decline of 2.3 million barrels.

The US dollar rose sharply before the Federal Reserve’s interest rate announcement, but pared gains later in the session. US policymakers kept benchmark rates unchanged, as was widely expected.

The US dollar index, which measures the greenback’s performance versus a basket of major peers, settled almost flat at 103.43 on Wednesday. Strength in the greenback generally makes commodities more expensive for foreign currency holders.

WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude for April delivery declined $1.79 to close at $81.68 per barrel on the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange). May Brent crude dipped $1.43 to settle at $85.95 per barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

In other energy trading, April gasoline lost 3 cents to $2.73 a gallon, while April heating oil declined 6 cents to $2.70 a gallon and natural gas for April delivery fell 4 cents to $1.70 per million British thermal units.

What to watch: Investors await the release of economic data on changes in the US natural gas stockpiles from the EIA today. Analysts expect US natural gas supplies to increase by 4 billion cubic feet in the latest week, after a decline of 9 billion cubic feet in the prior week.

Other Markets: European indices closed mostly lower on Wednesday, with the FTSE 100, CAC 40 and STOXX Europe 600 Index down by 0.01%, 0.48% and 0.01%, respectively, and the DAX 40 up by 0.15%.

The news shaping the markets

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after being in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an attempt to put an end to the war. The news sent the safe-haven US dollar index lower in forex trading this morning.


The Hong Kong Monetary Authority kept its base rate unchanged at 5.75% at its latest meeting, lending support to the HKD/USD forex pair.


Japan’s au Jibun Bank services PMI climbed to 54.9 in March, from 52.9 in the prior month. The country’s services sector expanding for the 19th straight month sent the JPY/USD pair higher in forex trading this morning.


Australia’s unemployment rate declined to 3.7% in February, from 4.1% in January. The latest reading also came in lower than market estimates of 4.0% and lent support to the AUD/USD forex pair.


Argentina’s unemployment rate came in unchanged at 5.7% in the fourth quarter. The unemployment rate remaining at the lowest level in more than two decades sent the ARS/USD pair slightly higher in forex trading this morning.

What else to watch today

UK’s public sector net borrowing, composite PMI, manufacturing PMI, services PMI and Bank of England’s interest rate decision, France’s manufacturing climate indicator, business climate indicator, composite PMI, manufacturing PMI and services PMI, Germany’s composite PMI, manufacturing PMI and services PMI, Eurozone’s current account, composite PMI, manufacturing PMI and services PMI, Italy’s current account, Turkey’s gross foreign exchange reserves and Central Bank of Turkey’s interest rate decision, Mexico’s retail sales and Bank of Mexico interest rate decision, Canada’s new housing price index, US current account, initial jobless claims, Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, continuing claims, composite PMI, manufacturing PMI, services PMI, and existing-home sales, Spain’s consumer confidence indicator, as well as Argentina’s retail sales.


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