Friday, December 10, 2021

S&P Closes at Record High as Investors Shrug Off Inflation Report. The S&P 500 booked its first record close in about three weeks as investors appeared to judge a report showing rising consumer prices in November as not as bad as had been feared. The S&P 500 index finished up 45 points, or 1%, at 4712. The broad-market benchmark’s record close marks the 67th of 2021 and brings the market back from an Omicron-inspired swoon that began at the end of November as the variant emerged. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 216 points, or 0.6%, at 35,971, and the Nasdaq Composite index ended up 113 points, or 0.7%, at 15,631. For the week, the Nasdaq Composite rose 3.6%, the S&P 500 gained 3.8%, and the Dow booked a 4% gain.


The Inflation News Was as Bad as Expected. What It Means for the Fed—and Biden.

The fastest rise in consumer prices in nearly four decades is paving the way for the Federal Reserve to move more quickly to tighten monetary policy. It’s also presenting a major headache for the Biden White House—and likely derailing its goals of passing a multitrillion-dollar social-spending package before the end of the year.
Consumer prices rose 0.8% in November from a month earlier, and the year-over-year rate surged to 6.8%, the fastest annual pace since 1982, the Labor Department said Friday. The monthly increase came in a touch higher than economists’ expectations of 0.7%, but marked a slight slowdown from the 0.9% rate the month before.
The 6.8% year-over-year rise, meanwhile, marks a big jump in the annual rate, which was 6.2% in October. Economists had expected a 6.7% increase year over year.

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Omicron-Specific Booster Shots May Not Be Needed, Fauci Says

President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is leaning toward the conclusion that variant-specific boosters may not be necessary to protect against Omicron, according to a report.
Fauci said that more research needs to be done, but his position reflects the tone of Pfizer and BioNTech executives in statements earlier this week, who argued that three doses of the original vaccine might be sufficient to protect against Omicron.

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Jobless Claims Fall to a 52-Year Low

The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in 52 years for the second time in three weeks.
“Today, we received further evidence that our jobs recovery is one of the strongest ever,” President Joe Biden said in a statement.

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China and U.S. Relations Could Become More Fraught in the Next Year, Bremmer Says

The U.S. and China are not headed for a 21st century version of a Cold War in part because they are so intertwined, and both are preoccupied with domestic problems, Eurasia Group Founder and President Ian Bremmer said this week. But Bremmer warned of a potentially more dangerous and uncertain U.S.-China backdrop in the next year.
In his annual briefing, Bremmer said that though there has been some movement in the relationship, with the two countries working together on climate and tapping oil from strategic petroleum reserves, trust is still low. Plus, the Biden administration’s decision for a diplomatic boycott of the winter Olympics doesn’t help relations.

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Online Prices Hit Record Levels as Shortages Bite Holiday Shoppers

Driven by continuing supply shortages and a strengthening economy, online shoppers are seeing prices rise at an unprecedented pace, new data from Adobe shows.
Adobe says online prices jumped 3.5% on a year-over-year basis in November, the highest rate of inflation since the company began tracking the digital economy in 2014, and the 18th consecutive month of online price increases. Adobe notes that a quarter of all consumer spending is now conducted online, “making the digital economy a significant component of the overall economy.”

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Senate Advances Fast-Track Plan for Raising the Debt Ceiling

Republicans joined Democrats in passing a measure that fast-tracks the process for Congress to raise the debt ceiling, moving one step closer to averting a default on the nation’s loans.
The Senate approved the legislation in a 64-36 vote, with 14 Republicans voting in favor of the bill. The measure doesn’t lift the debt limit, but rather temporarily suspends the 60-vote filibuster, allowing Democrats to raise the debt ceiling quickly through a simple majority vote.

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FDA Authorizes Vaccine Boosters for 16- and 17-Year-Olds

The Food and Drug Administration this week extended its authorization of booster doses of Pfizer‘s vaccine to include adolescents ages 16 and 17, as data suggest that three doses may be critical to fully protecting against the Omicron variant.
The extension came weeks after the agency last expanded its emergency-use authorization of Pfizer‘s vaccine, most recently to include all adults 18 and older, regardless of their occupations or health conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its own recommendation in late November, after the emergence of Omicron, to say that all adults 18 and older should get a booster.

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Glaxo and Vir Antibody Drug Works on Omicron Mutations, New Data Show

GlaxoSmithKline said this week its Covid-19 antibody treatment, developed with U.S. partner Vir Biotechnology, was effective against all mutations of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.
A second batch of preclinical data, which hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed, showed that the companies’ treatment, sotrovimab, was effective against all 37 mutations identified to date in the spike protein, GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement.

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Moderna’s Flu Vaccine Data Disappoint

Moderna disclosed what it called positive data on its experimental flu vaccine, but observers seemed to see air leaking out of the company’s dream of a blockbuster shot that could protect against multiple respiratory viruses.
In a press release and a conference call early Friday, Moderna said that its seasonal flu vaccine candidate, which it calls mRNA-1010, significantly boosted antibody responses to the two most important flu strains in an early trial. The company also said, however, that the antibody response appeared to be similar to Sanofi‘s Fluzone HD, an enhanced flu vaccine administered to older adults.

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GM Seen Investing $3 Billion for Electric-Vehicle Production in Michigan

General Motors is reportedly planning to invest more than $3 billion to produce electric vehicles in its home state of Michigan.
GM is completing plans for two electric-vehicle initiatives in the state, The Wall Street Journal reported. One project is to convert its Orion Assembly plant in Detroit into a hub for electric pickup truck production. That plan is estimated to cost at least $2 billion and would create more than 1,500 jobs.

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By Published On: December 11th, 2021

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