The stock market has had a tough month in September, but Wall Street looked ready to end the month on at least a mildly upbeat note. Investors still have plenty to worry about with inflation, COVID-19, and a potential government shutdown, but that didn’t stop futures traders from trying to mount a comeback. At 8 a.m. EDT, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) were up 88 points to 34,353. S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) futures had moved higher by 12 points to 4,362, and the futures on the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) had picked up 60 points to 14,800.
Overnight, a couple of stocks made big moves higher on positive news. Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) has had to deal with some issues that kept its stock price earthbound, but it’s moving higher now that investors see a green light toward long-term growth. Meanwhile, Perrigo (NYSE:PRGO) got a favorable ruling that will take away a huge overhang that has plagued investors for a long while.
FAA to Virgin Galactic: You’re go for launch
Shares of Virgin Galactic have performed poorly over the past several months, falling on Wednesday to their worst levels since May. However, the shares got a bump in premarket trading Thursday, climbing 9%.
Prompting the surge was news from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA had been investigating Virgin Galactic in the wake of its July spaceflight, but the regulatory agency told the space tourism company late Wednesday that it had concluded its inquiry and accepted Virgin Galactic’s proposed corrective actions.
The specific issue that prompted the FAA investigation was the VSS Unity‘s flight path, which deviated from its cleared route from air traffic controllers during a portion of the return flight. However, Virgin Galactic maintained that its flight path stayed within the lateral boundaries of the upper layer of its protected airspace, dropping below that layer only briefly before reentering the lower layer’s airspace.
Going forward, Virgin Galactic will expand its protected airspace to ensure safety for other aircraft, and it will take additional steps to flesh out how flight procedures notify air traffic controllers during missions.
With the FAA having cleared Virgin Galactic, the company now hopes to fly its Unity 23 mission as early as mid-October. That will depend on inspections of the flight control actuation system, but investors are hopeful missions will proceed as planned.
Perrigo settles for a big gain
Meanwhile, shares of Perrigo are set to rise even further on Thursday. The pharmaceutical stock posted a 15% gain in premarket trading, bouncing back from its recent poor performance.
Perrigo had been engaged in a long battle with Irish tax authorities regarding income taxes that the drug company allegedly owed because of its sale of its patents on its multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri. A notice of assessment initially claimed Perrigo had taxes of 1.6 billion euros due, not including potential interest and penalties. That was subsequently reduced by 660 million euros this July when Irish Revenue acknowledged that it had lacked full information in the 2018 assessment.
Under the terms of the settlement, Perrigo will pay 297 million euros to resolve its Tysabri-related tax issues. Using various credits will reduce Perrigo’s cash payment to 266 million euros.
Combined with news that Perrigo had received 355 million euros in cash in an arbitration award on an unrelated matter, investors have to be pleased with what was a good day for the drugmaker. The company will need more of them, though, to fully satisfy its shareholders.
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