Stocks End Turbulent Week at Records. All three major indexes ended at records Friday, underscoring a powerful rebound in equities a day after one of the worst selloffs since mid-June. The S&P 500 index closed 1.1% higher at 4370, the Nasdaq Composite booked a 1% advance to 14,702, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 448 points, or 1.3%, to 34,870. All three indexes logged record closing highs a day after notching the worst daily drop since June 18. Thursday’s declines had been at least partly inspired by worries about the economic recovery amid the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19 and as the 10-year and 30-year Treasuries hit their lowest yields since February. The climb for stocks on Friday came as President Joe Biden issued an executive order to limit corporate dominance and spur competition.
FDA Commissioner Asks for Investigation Into Approval Process for Biogen Alzheimer’s Drug
In acknowledgment of the widespread concerns raised by doctors and researchers over the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval last month of Biogen’s Alzheimer’s disease therapy, acting commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock on Friday issued a public letter asking for an investigation into the approval process.
The letter to the acting inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services asks for an “independent review and assessment of interactions between representatives of Biogen and the FDA” during the review of the drug called Aduhelm.
Biogen said in a statement that it would “cooperate with any inquiry in connection with a possible review of the regulatory process.”
Look Out Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple. Biden Takes Aim at Big Business in Executive Order.
President Joe Biden’s administration is taking a big swing at Big Tech.
Biden was expected to sign an executive order Friday afternoon that would establish a Federal Trade Commission policy to more closely scrutinize mergers by dominant internet platforms, especially those seeking to buy growing competitors, those offering free products, or those accumulating large amounts of data.
Initial Jobless Claims Tick Up, but the Layoff Trendline Still Points Down
First-time claims for unemployment insurance unexpectedly rose in the latest week, but the downward trend in layoffs remains intact.
Seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ended July 3 were 373,000, up 2,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised level, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists polled by FactSet had predicted a sizable drop to 359,000.
Fed Dived Into Taper Debate at June Meeting, but Nothing Seems Imminent, Minutes Show
After two meetings where they religiously avoided discussion of slowing down asset purchases, minutes of the Federal Reserve’s June meeting showed officials dove into the debate about when and how to taper.
The Fed is holding its policy interest rates close to zero and buying $120 billion of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities each month to bolster the economy. The central bank said it would keep up the pace of purchases until “significant” progress was reached on the labor market and inflation.
World Passes 4 Million Covid-19 Deaths as Delta Variant Surges
The world passed a grim milestone on Wednesday as the number of deaths caused by Covid-19 passed 4 million people, according to a count kept by experts at Johns Hopkins University.
As life returns to normal across parts of the developed world, fears over the highly transmissible Delta variant are growing, and some countries are sliding back into partial lockdown. Other countries with low vaccination rates are in the midst of surges.
36 States File Suit Against Google for Antitrust Violations
Attorneys general in dozens of states and Washington, D.C. filed a lawsuit against Alphabet and several subsidiaries on Wednesday, claiming the company’s Android app store violated antitrust laws.
The antitrust complaint led by Utah is joined by New York, California, and 33 other states and the District of Columbia, according to the complaint. The lawsuit will focus on Google’s Play Store and was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Former President Donald Trump filed a class-action lawsuit Wednesday against Facebook, Alphabet’s YouTube, Twitter, and their CEOs, claiming the social-media platforms are censoring him and other Americans.
Trump is asking a federal district court in southern Florida to immediately lift the bans that the platforms have placed on his accounts.
Chinese Regulators Intensify Crackdown on Big Tech Companies
Chinese regulators struck again on Tuesday, making clear they aren’t done with their heightened scrutiny of some of China’s biggest companies and fastest-growing sectors—highlighting the use of data as another front in U.S.-China tensions.
Regulators on Tuesday said they would tighten rules that let Chinese companies list overseas and revise its initial public offerings approval process, potentially halting the possibility of big Chinese IPOs like the one ride-hailing company Didi Global just completed. That move came after reports that Didi pushed ahead with its IPO even after China’s cybersecurity watchdog suggested it delay the offering.
Microsoft’s ‘JEDI’ Contract Canceled in a Big Win for Amazon
The U.S. Department of Defense has canceled a planned 10-year, $10 billion cloud computing contract known as JEDI that had been awarded to Microsoft in 2019, while launching plans for a new multivendor cloud computing project that will likely be split between Microsoft and Amazon.
The government said in a statement that “it has become clear that the JEDI Cloud contract, which has long been delayed, no longer meets the requirements to fill the DoD’s capability gaps.”