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Wall Street Breakfast Podcast: Perma-Fix Advances PFAS

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Perma-Fix (PESI) flies higher after plant testing for destruction of ‘forever chemicals.’ (00:25) Cosmetics stocks slump after Ulta Beauty (ULTA) warns on beauty sales slowdown. (01:29) Alphabet (GOOG) reportedly considers putting AI search behind paywall; stock perks up. (02:24)

This is an abridged transcript of the podcast.

Perma-Fix Environmental Services (NASDAQ:PESI) has been working on a process to destroy PFAS chemicals.

PESI closed +20.79% in Wednesday’s trading after saying it successfully completed pilot plant testing on its new, patent-pending process for the destruction of “forever chemicals.”

Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances do not degrade over time through any natural process, and Perma-Fix (PESI) said the tests were designed to demonstrate the destruction of commercial quantities of PFAS-contaminated liquids and better define the parameters needed to construct the first commercial unit.

The company said its bench-scale testing of PFAS compounds demonstrated that the process is effective and can be applied to a variety of potential markets, including liquids, solids, soils, biosolids and sludges.

“This successful demonstration marks potentially the single largest achievement in the history of the company, Perma-Fix (PESI) founder Louis Centofanti said, adding the company is now in the process of constructing its initial commercial unit, which will be comprised of a sealed vessel operating under mild conditions.

Cosmetic stocks took a hit on Wednesday after Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA) issued cautious commentary during a presentation at the J.P. Morgan Retail Round Up Conference.

One of the notable pullouts from the presentation was that Ulta Beauty (ULTA) warned that consumers are seeing pressure from too much credit card debt at high interest rates.

The company noted that it has seen a slowdown in demand across beauty categories. In terms of guidance, Ulta Beauty (ULTA) sees Q1 comparable sales landing at the lower end of first half guidance for low single-digit growth.

Shares of Ulta Beauty (ULTA) fell 15.34% on Wednesday. Retail peer Sally Beauty Holdings (NYSE:SBH) peeled off 6.67% and e.l.f. Beauty (NYSE:ELF) slumped 11.92%. Cosmetics makers Coty (COTY), Nu Skin (NUS), Estee Lauder (EL), and Inter Parfums (IPAR) were all in negative territory as well.

Alphabet stock ticked up slightly after hours Wednesday — (NASDAQ:GOOG) +1.1%, (NASDAQ:GOOGL) +1.2% — alongside a report that it’s considering putting some advanced search features behind a paywall for the first time.

The Financial Times reported Google is weighing charging for new premium search features powered by generative artificial intelligence.

That could come by adding AI-powered features to premium subscription services that already offer access to its Gemini AI assistant in Gmail and Google Docs, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Google’s mainline search would continue to be free of charge, and ads would be served up with search results even to subscribers.

Other articles to look out for on Seeking Alpha:

Nvidia sees no disruptions to chip supply from Taiwan earthquake

Apple said to look at personal robots for ‘next big thing:’ report

Gold jumps to another record high after Powell’s remarks; silver best since June 2021

Stock winners of Republican policy if Trump wins – GS

On our catalyst watch for the day,

  • Arhaus (ARHS) will pay out a special dividend of $0.50 per share to shareholders of record.

  • Some of the notable companies presenting data at the American Association for Cancer Research Meeting include Black Diamond Therapeutics (BDTX), Illumina (ILMN), NeoGenomics (NEO), and Carisma Therapeutics (CARM). Analysts have Verastem (VSTM), Century Therapeutics (IPSC), and Fusion Pharmaceuticals (FUSN) circled as stocks that could get a jolt from the event.

  • Home Depot (HD) CFO Richard McPhail will present at the J.P Morgan Retail Round-Up Conference.

U.S. stocks on Wednesday ended mixed.

The Nasdaq (COMP:IND) added 0.23%, while the S&P 500 (SP500) climbed 0.11%. The Dow (DJI) concluded marginally lower by 0.11%.

Of the 11 S&P sectors, seven ended in the green.

Now let’s take a look at the markets as of 6 am. Ahead of the opening bell today, Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures are in the green. Crude oil is down 0.2% at more than $85 per barrel. Bitcoin is up 0.1% at more than $66,000.

In the world markets, the FTSE 100 is up 0.4% and the DAX is down a small fraction.

The biggest movers for the day premarket: Levi Strauss (LEVI) is up 9% after the topping expectations in Q1 and raising its profit outlook.

On today’s economic calendar:

  • 8:30 Initial Jobless Claims

  • 12:45 PM Fed’s Austan Goolsbee will participate in a moderated question-and-answer session before the Multi-Chamber Economic Outlook Luncheon and Expo in Chicago.

  • 7:30 PM Fed’s Adriana Kugler will speak in St. Louis at the Women’s Economics Symposium on the topic “Enriching data and analysis in economics with real life experiences.”

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