CDC Approves COVID-19 Vaccines For Children Under 5

U.S. health advisers on Saturday recommended COVID-19 vaccines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — the last group without the shots.The advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unanimously decided that coronavirus vaccines should be opened to children as young as 6 months. On Saturday afternoon, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed off on the panel’s recommendation.

“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against COVID-19,” Walensky said in a statement. “We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can. I encourage parents and caregivers with questions to talk to their doctor, nurse, or local pharmacist to learn more about the benefits of vaccinations and the importance of protecting their children by getting them vaccinated.”

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra released a statement calling the CDC’s move a “major milestone.”

“Thanks to the FDA and CDC’s rigorous, comprehensive, and independent review of the data, and their strict commitment to following the science, we are reaching another major milestone in our efforts to protect more children, their families, and our communities as we work to end the pandemic,” Becerra said. “We are following the data and science as we make sure all Americans are eligible and have access to COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to prevent severe disease and save lives. Based on CDC and FDA actions, we now know that vaccination for our children 6 months through 5 years old is safe and effective and we are ready to get millions of children vaccinated.”

The White House also weighed in on the decision in a statement calling the CDC’s decision a “monumental step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus.””For parents all over the country, this is a day of relief and celebration,” President Biden said in the statemente. “As the first country to protect our youngest children with COVID-19 vaccines, my Administration has been planning and preparing for this moment for months, effectively securing doses and offering safe and highly effective mRNA vaccines for all children as young as six months old.

“While the Food and Drug Administration OKs vaccines, it’s the CDC that decides who should get them. The government has been gearing up for the start of the shots early next week, with millions of doses ordered for distribution to doctors, hospitals and community health clinics around the country. Roughly 18 million kids will be eligible, but it remains to be seen how many will ultimately get the vaccines. Less than a third of children ages 5 to 11 have done so since vaccination opened up to them last November.

Two brands — Pfizer and Moderna — got the green light Friday from the FDA. The vaccines use the same technology but are being offered at different dose sizes and number of shots for the youngest kids.

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Pfizer’s vaccine is for 6 months through 4 years. The dose is one-tenth of the adult dose, and three shots are needed. The first two are given three weeks apart, and the last at least two months later. Moderna’s is two shots, each a quarter of its adult dose, given about four weeks apart for kids 6 months through 5. The FDA also approved a third dose, at least a month after the second shot, for kids with immune conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious illness.

Two doses of Moderna appeared to be only about 40% effective at preventing milder infections at a time when the omicron variant was causing most COVID-19 illnesses. Pfizer presented study information suggesting the company saw 80% with its three shots. But the Pfizer data was so limited — and based on such a small number of cases — that experts and federal officials say they don’t feel there is a reliable estimate yet.

Hospitalizations surged during the omicron wave. Since the start of the pandemic, about 480 children under age 5 are counted among the nation’s more than 1 million COVID-19 deaths, federal data show. “It is worth vaccinating, even though the number of deaths are relatively rare, because these deaths are preventable through vaccination,” said Dr. Matthew Daley, a Kaiser Permanente Colorado researcher who sits on the advisory committee.

U.S. officials expect most shots to take place at pediatricians’ offices. Many parents may be more comfortable getting the vaccine for their kids at their regular doctor, White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said. He predicted the pace of vaccination to be far slower than it was for older populations.

Pediatricians, other primary care physicians and children’s hospitals are planning to provide the vaccines. Limited drugstores will offer them for at least some of the under-5 group. U.S. officials expect most shots to take place at pediatricians’ offices. Many parents may be more comfortable getting the vaccine for their kids at their regular doctor, White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said. He predicted the pace of vaccination to be far slower than it was for older populations.

“We’re going see vaccinations ramp up over weeks and even potentially over a couple of months,” Jha said. It’s common for little kids to get more than one vaccine during a doctor’s visit. In studies of the Moderna and Pfizer shots in infants and toddlers, other vaccinations were not given at the same time so there is no data on potential side effects when that happens. But problems have not been identified in older children or adults when COVID-19 shots and other vaccinations were given together, and the CDC is advising that it’s safe for younger children as well.

About three-quarters of children of all ages are estimated to have been infected at some point. For older ages, the CDC has recommended vaccination anyway to lower the chances of reinfection.Experts have noted re-infections among previously infected people and say the highest levels of protection occur in those who were both vaccinated and previously infected. The CDC has said people may consider waiting about three months after an infection to be vaccinated.

Source: CDC approves COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 | Fox Business

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Future COVID Variants Will Likely Reinfect Us Multiple Times a Year, Experts Say

For more than a year now, the original COVID-19 vaccines have held up remarkably well — even miraculously so — against a Greek alphabet of new variants: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta.

But now experts say something is changing. Since the start of 2022, the initial version of Omicron, known as BA.1, has been spinning off new sublineages — BA.2, BA.2.12.1, BA.4, BA.5 — at an alarming pace.

Earlier variants did this too. But it never really mattered, because their offshoots “had no functional consequence,” according to Eric Topol, founder of Scripps Research Translational Institute. “They did not increase transmissibility or pathogenicity.”

Today’s rapidly proliferating Omicron mutants are different, however. They all have one worrisome trait in common: They’re getting better and better at sidestepping immunity and sickening people who were previously shielded by vaccination or prior infection.

The virus, in other words, is now evolving faster — and in a more consequential way — than ever before. Given the increasing speed of immune evasion, and what this pattern portends for the future, experts warn that the time has come to rethink our reliance on the vaccine status quo and double down on next-generation vaccines that can actually stop infection.

“As difficult [as] it is to mentally confront, we must plan on something worse than Omicron in the months ahead,” Topol wrote on May 15. “We absolutely need an aggressive stance to get ahead of the virus — for the first time since the pandemic began — instead of surrendering.”

The brewing storm of BA sublineages isn’t all bad news. COVID cases have been rising nationwide since the beginning of April, nearly quadrupling over the last six weeks to more than 90,000 per day on average. Yet both COVID deaths (about 300 per day) and ICU patients (about 2,000 total) are still at or approaching record lows — even though other countries with bigger gaps in previous exposure or vaccination have been hit hard, and even though new research shows that Omicron and its spinoffs are not, in fact, intrinsically less severe or deadly than prior variants, contrary to early assumptions.

By:

Source: Future COVID variants will likely reinfect us multiple times a year, experts say — unless we invest in new vaccines

Critics by:

The new variants have not altered the fundamental usefulness of the Covid vaccines. Most people who have received three or even just two doses will not become sick enough to need medical care if they test positive for the coronavirus. And a booster dose, like a previous bout with the virus, does seem to decrease the chance of reinfection — but not by much.

At the pandemic’s outset, many experts based their expectations of the coronavirus on influenza, the viral foe most familiar to them. They predicted that, as with the flu, there might be one big outbreak each year, most likely in the fall. The way to minimize its spread would be to vaccinate people before its arrival.

Instead, the coronavirus is behaving more like four of its closely related cousins, which circulate and cause colds year round. While studying common-cold coronaviruses, “we saw people with multiple infections within the space of a year,” said Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University in New York.

If reinfection turns out to be the norm, the coronavirus is “not going to simply be this wintertime once-a-year thing,” he said, “and it’s not going to be a mild nuisance in terms of the amount of morbidity and mortality it causes.”

Reinfections with earlier variants, including Delta, did occur but were relatively infrequent. But in September, the pace of reinfections in South Africa seemed to pick up and was markedly high by November, when the Omicron variant was identified, Dr. Pulliam said.

Reinfections in South Africa, as in the United States, may seem even more noticeable because so many have been immunized or infected at least once by now.

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AstraZeneca Sees $4B In COVID-19 Vaccine Sales

AstraZeneca recorded a big jump in revenue on Thursday as it begins to take a profit from its coronavirus vaccine for the first time.

The company recorded full-year revenues of $37.4 billion, an increase of 38% from the year before at constant exchange rates. Part of the boost came from $4 billion in sales of its COVID-19 vaccine, developed with the University of Oxford.

Despite rising revenue, AstraZeneca reported a pre-tax loss of $265 million due to costs from its purchase of U.S. drug company Alexion Pharmaceuticals and new drug research.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said in November it would begin to take a “modest” profit from the COVID-19 shot, which it had been providing “at cost” — around $2 to $3 —following an agreement with Oxford. Other COVID-19 vaccine producers, such as Pfizer and Moderna, have been booking hefty profits on their shots all along.

Dr Tamara Joffe administer a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Mustafa Field of the Faiths Forum, during a pilot project of pop up vaccination drive called Vaxi Taxi in Kilburn, London, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021.  (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

In the three months to September, the company said revenue jumped by about 50%, to a record $9.9 billion. The increase was due to sales of more than $1 billion in COVID-19 vaccines and the inclusion for the first time of some $1.3 billion worth of revenue from its rare disease business unit following the recent acquisition of Alexion.

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AstraZeneca forecast total group sales to rise by a “high teens percentage” in 2022, but said COVID-19 revenues would decline by a “a low-to-mid twenties percentage.”

Chief executive Pascal Soriot said AstraZeneca had “delivered on our promise of broad and equitable access to our COVID-19 vaccine with 2.5 billion doses released for supply around the world.”

“AstraZeneca continued on its strong growth trajectory in 2021, with industry-leading R&D (research and development) productivity, five of our medicines crossing new blockbuster thresholds, and the acquisition and integration of Alexion,” he said.

Soriot said the company would raise the dividend to shareholders by 10 cents to $2.90, the first increase in a decade.

AstraZeneca shares were trading about 3% higher at 8.62 pounds ($11.68) on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.

Source: AstraZeneca sees $4B in COVID-19 vaccine sales | Fox Business

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Critics:

AstraZeneca (AZN.L) said it would begin to earn a modest profit from its coronavirus vaccine as the world learns to live with the virus and the drugmaker is in talks with several countries about new orders for delivery next year.

AstraZeneca made a commitment to sell the shot developed with Oxford University at cost during the pandemic and in a press conference on Friday said low-income nations would continue to receive the vaccine on a no-profit basis, while a post-pandemic commercial approach would apply to other new orders even as infections in Europe rise again. read more

The Anglo-Swedish company’s third-quarter results showed the vaccine contributed one cent to core earnings per share of $1.08, a rise of 14%. Total product sales jumped 49% to $9.74 billion, as its vaccine sales topped $1 billion.

“We started this project to help … but we also said that at some stage in the future, we will transition to commercial orders,” Chief Executive Pascal Soriot told journalists.”It will never be high priced. Because we want the vaccine to remain affordable to everybody around the world,” he added.

Soriot, a French national, said the virus was becoming endemic, a term for a background level of infections that is part of everyday life.Talks about new orders with undisclosed countries were underway, mainly for delivery next year, with some prospective customers focusing on booster shots, Soriot said.

AstraZeneca unveiled plans this week to set up a separate unit to focus on its coronavirus efforts and other respiratory infections. It said on Friday the unit would independently manage production and distribution. read more

Shares of the FTSE 100 (.FTSE) drugmaker were down 3.4% at about 91.22 pounds at 1209 GMT as overall third-quarter profit fell short of analysts’ expectations.

There were strong performances of core products like kidney disease treatment Farxiga and established asthma drug Symbicort, and from the addition of rare-disease specialist Alexion from July 21, thanks to last year’s $39 billion takeover deal.

However, integration costs related to that deal ate into profits, as did a $1.2 billion writedown for an experimental kidney disease drug AstraZeneca acquired in 2012, with overall expenses also rising on investments into the drug pipeline.

Top selling drug Tagrisso for lung cancer also posted lower-than-expected growth in sales due to price cuts in China. AstraZeneca said a profit boost from the vaccine in the fourth quarter would make up for costs related to its antibody cocktail for preventing and treating COVID-19, as it stuck with its earnings forecast for the year.

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“AstraZeneca > GC Powerlist: Sweden Teams 2019”. http://www.legal500.com. Retrieved 30 December 2020.

UK “will be able to get out of this by the spring”, minister says after regulator approves AstraZeneca vaccine”. CNN. Retrieved 30 December 2020.

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine gets the green light in the UK”. biopharma-reporter.com. Retrieved 30 December 2020.

“Registered office and corporate headquarters”. AstraZeneca. Retrieved 27 February 2020.

“A history of AstraZeneca”. pharmaphorum.com. 18 September 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2021.

“Global 500 – Pharmaceuticals”. Fortune. 20 July 2009. Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2010.

“Key facts”. AstraZeneca. Archived from the original on 8 September 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.

 AstraZeneca to ax 1,600, relocate thousands in global R&D reshuffle”. fiercebiotech.com. FierceBiotech.

“Organizational Portraits – AstraZeneca”. The Pharmaceutical Century: Ten Decades of Drug Discovery. Washington, D.C.: ACS Publications. 17 November 2000. Retrieved 14 July 2008.

“Our History – AstraZeneca Careers”. AstraZeneca Careers.

“AstraZeneca Selects Wilmington, Del. for New US Headquarters”.

“AstraZeneca’s Iressa FDA committee judgement expected tomorrow”. 23 September 2002. Retrieved 7 July 2013.

“ZI is dripping with promise”. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014.

AstraZeneca buys biotech company for £120m The Telegraph, 23 December 2005

AstraZeneca and Astex ally for anticancer agents Business Intelligence, 1 July 2005

“Pennsylvania Bio – Member Listings”. Pennsylvania Bio web site. Archived from the original on 14 December 2005. Retrieved 8 October 2005.

AstraZeneca agrees to buy Arrow Therapeutics for US$150M Marketwatch, 1 February 2007

AstraZeneca seeks a remedy for its patent pain The Telegraph, 21 April 2012

“AstraZeneca to pay $15.2B to purchase rival MedImmune; Deal sees London-based drugmaker take on debt for the first time in order to fill product line”. Bloomberg.

AstraZeneca Buys MedImmune for US$ 15.6 Billion The New York Times, 24 April 2007

“AstraZeneca To Acquire Infection Research Company Novexel And Expand Collaboration With Forest Laboratories”. 23 December 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2015.

“Novexel to be Acquired by AstraZeneca”. Retrieved 20 February 2015.

AstraZeneca to buy Chinese generics firm Healthcare News, 8 December 2011

AstraZeneca and Amgen collaborate on treatments for inflammatory diseases Medcity News, 4 February 2012

AstraZeneca Reaches $1.26 Billion Deal for Ardea Biosciences The New York Times, 23 April 2012

Peacock, Louisa (30 June 2012). “AstraZeneca to pay £2.2bn towards ‘joint venture’ diabetes deal”. The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.

Moderna Stock Crash Intensifies: Losses Top $130 Billion After Scientists Find Covid Boosters Aren’t Halting Omicron Infections

Battered by a steep broad-market selloff this week, Moderna shares fell for a sixth straight day Friday as experts questioned whether Covid-19 vaccine sales alone will help justify the firm’s meteoric valuation, intensifying a crash that’s wiped out more than 60% of the value in one of last year’s top stocks and turned it into this year’s worst performer.

Moderna stock fell 4.4% Friday to an eight-month low of $160, pushing shares down more than 20% over the past week amid growing research suggesting Moderna’s Covid-19 booster, while very effective against previous strains, has been less effective against the rapidly spreading omicron variant.

Though the number of Covid infections has spiked amid the omicron-spurred wave of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that Moderna and Pfizer boosters were 90% effective at preventing people infected with the new variant from being hospitalized.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance on Thursday, Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said the “overly high expectations” set last year, as Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine became widely available to the public, will “lead to challenges . . . as people digest” what’s next for the firm beyond Covid vaccines.

Yee said the recent stock drawback has helped put Moderna’s valuation in line with other biotechnology competitors, but he warned analysts increasingly expect Covid vaccine sales—currently Moderna’s sole revenue source from a commercialized product—will fall over the next few years as the pandemic becomes endemic and competition heats up among treatment and prevention options.

Moderna’s stock plunge has pulled prices down so much that Bank of America analyst Geoff Meacham told investors in a Friday note that its valuation is now “back to earth” after its meteoric rise during the pandemic.

Meacham said he’s now focused on the company’s pipeline beyond Covid (Moderna is also developing a flu vaccine), pointing to the firm’s massive $17 billion in cash as a source of “strategic” opportunity.

In a Friday note, UBS analyst Eliana Merle was more optimistic about Moderna’s prospects, calling its mRNA technology a disruptive force in the $35 billion annual vaccine market and saying its success with Covid-19 suggests a high likelihood of success for other vaccine targets.

Shares of Moderna have plunged 67% from an all-time closing high of $484 on August 9, wiping out about $133 billion from the firm’s market capitalization, which now stands at roughly $65 billion.

Though it skyrocketed 143% to land the S&P 500’s third-best gain in 2021, Moderna stock has plummeted 35% this year—even worse than Netflix, which is down 32% after a steep 20% plunge Friday following a disappointing earnings report. To compare, Devon Energy and Marathon Oil, last year’s top- and second-best-performing stocks in the S&P, have climbed 7% and 11% this year, respectively.

$5.3 billion. That’s how much Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, who joined the firm in 2011, is worth Friday, according to Forbes. The French native owns a roughly 8% stake in Moderna and was at one point worth more than $12 billion.

Founded in 2010, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna spent nearly a decade developing the technology for its messenger RNA vaccines, which tell the body to produce part of a pathogen to trigger an immune response—unlike traditional vaccines that instead use a piece of the pathogen.

Once the pandemic hit, the company doubled down on the efforts and filed for an emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine in November 2020. The shots have proven to be a massive boon for businesses heading up their development, but Moderna shares have struggled in recent months as critics increasingly question whether or not sales of Covid-19 vaccines alone will prove a viable revenue stream in years to come.

In November, the company reported third-quarter sales and earnings that failed to meet analysts’ expectations, with revenue falling short of $5 billion, despite average analyst projections calling for $6.2 billion. In addition to lower sales projections, supply chain constraints and the development of antiviral Covid-19 treatments have also dented investor sentiment—and triggered Moderna stock selloffs.

Moderna is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings by the end of February.

Shares of Moderna plunged 17% shortly after the market opened Thursday, wiping out more than $24 billion in market value and pushing prices to a three-month low of $287.

Triggering the morning crash, Moderna on Thursday reported third-quarter sales and earnings that failed to meet analysts’ expectations, with revenue falling short of $5 billion despite average analyst projections calling for $6.2 billion.

In a conference call, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel blamed a “more complex” supply-chain environment for the disappointing performance, adding that longer delivery times for international shipments may shift some deliveries to early 2022, instead of 2021’s fourth quarter.

Moderna said it now expects to deliver between 700 million and 800 million Covid-19 vaccine doses this year, down from previous projections calling for between 800 million and 1 billion doses; sales should now fall between $15 billion and $18 billion, instead of the $20 billion originally projected, the company said.

Covid-19 vaccines, which are Moderna’s only commercialized product, have proven to be highly effective in preventing serious illness and the market’s best defense against the virus—making them a massive boon to a slew of businesses heading up their development.However, Moderna shares have struggled in recent months as critics increasingly question whether or not sales of Covid-19 vaccines will prove a viable revenue stream in years to come.

In August, Bank of America sparked one of the biggest selloffs in Moderna’s history after saying future sales expectations don’t justify the company’s current valuation. The analysts warned that lower-than-expected vaccine sales and more intense competition as Covid-19 research advances marked the biggest risks to Moderna stock prices.

Despite its recent weakness, Moderna is still the S&P’s best-performing component this year, with shares skyrocketing about 200% thanks to the company’s Covid-19 vaccine becoming widely available across the world. Still, shares have crashed nearly 40% from an all-time closing high of $484 on August 9.

$9.5 billion. That’s how much Bancel, who joined Moderna in 2011, is worth as of 10:00 a.m. EDT Thursday, according to Forbes. The French native, who owns a roughly 8% stake in Moderna, has seen his fortune plunge by about $1.6 billion as a result of the stock’s rout on Thursday.

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Source: Moderna Stock Crash Intensifies: Losses Top $130 Billion After Scientists Find Covid Boosters Aren’t Halting Omicron Infections

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S&P 500 Closes At New Record Despite Inflation Hitting Nearly 40-Year-High

The stock market moved higher on Friday—extending this week’s rally—despite consumer prices surging 6.8% last month, the highest inflation reading in nearly 40 years, according to data released by the Labor Department.

Key Facts

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6%, over 200 points, while the S&P 500 gained nearly 1% and the Nasdaq Composite 0.7%.

While markets took a hit after the first case of omicron was reported in the United States last week, stocks have recently bounced back as investors grow less fearful about the Covid omicron variant—with the S&P 500 hitting a new record high on Friday.

Even a bad inflation reading on Friday morning wasn’t enough to spook investors: Consumer prices rose 6.8% in the 12 months ending in November, according to Labor Department data, which shows inflation at a nearly 40-year high.

Some investors who expected an even higher inflation reading were relieved by the news and sent stocks up, while others remain optimistic about the ongoing economic recovery boosted by a strong labor market recovery.

Shares of tech giant Oracle jumped over 15%, a day after beating quarterly earnings estimates, while shares of at-home fitness company Peloton added to the previous day’s losses, falling over 5% on Friday.

Vaccine maker Moderna’s stock, meanwhile, fell nearly 6% as investors await more data and updates on the efficacy of the company’s Covid treatments against the omicron variant.

Big Number: $15.1 Billion

That’s how much Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison’s net worth jumped on Friday, to $135.7 billion, according to Forbes’ estimates. He is now the fifth richest person in the world.

Key Background:

After the emergence of the omicron variant led to a sell-off last week, stocks are now on pace for a solid weekly rebound. All three major indexes have risen by nearly 4% this week as investor concerns about the new variant abate amid news that vaccines are effective against it.

Crucial Quote:

“The inflation print from this morning will reinforce the Fed’s resolve to accelerate tapering,” predicts Anu Gaggar, global investment strategist for Commonwealth Financial Network. “With the strength in the economic recovery, it is time to take the crutches away,” he says, adding, “supply and labor shortages will keep aggregate prices elevated for longer, keeping inflation higher than the Fed target for a while.”

What To Watch For:

While December has historically been a great month for the stock market, the new omicron variant is causing “major volatility” and complicating the inflation outlook, says Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial. Despite the myriad of challenges facing markets in 2022, he remains “optimistic” that stocks will finish the year on a solid note.

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I am a senior reporter at Forbes covering markets and business news. Previously, I worked on the wealth team at Forbes covering billionaire

Source: S&P 500 Closes At New Record Despite Inflation Hitting Nearly 40-Year-High

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More Contents:

Inflation Spiked Another 6.8% In November—Hitting 40-Year High As White House Tries To Temper Price Concerns

Stocks Rally For A Second Day—Dow Gains 500 Points—As Investors Shake Off Omicron Fears

This Vaccine Maker Can ‘Dominate’ The Covid Market For Years To Come, Wells Fargo Predicts

The Number Of Americans Filing For New Unemployment Benefits Just Fell To A 52-Year Low

Amazon shares dropped 2.1% after the e-commerce giant badly missed earnings and revenue expectations for the third quarter. Apple stock fell 1.8% after the tech giant’s quarterly revenue fell short of expectations amid larger-than-expected supply constraints on iPhones, iPads and Macs. It was the first time Apple’s revenues have missed Wall Street estimates since May 2017.

However, Microsoft rose 2.2% to surpass Apple as largest listed company in the world by market cap. Nike and Intel also had solid days to boost the Dow.

Despite the disappointing results from Big Tech, the stock market has been raking in records amid solid earnings even with global supply chain concerns. About half of the S&P 500 have reported quarterly results and more than 80% of them beat earnings estimates from Wall Street analysts. S&P 500 companies are expected to grow profit by 38.6% year over year.

“So far, I think it is fair to say that companies have managed to navigate these headwinds effectively, of course having the benefit of strong demand,” said Angelo Kourkafas, an investment strategist at Edward Jones. “But they are not immune to it. These input cost pressures will show up as reduced revenue or potentially lower profit margins.”

“But I think so far, with about half to the S&P 500 companies having reported, the initial assessment is that profitability has remained fairly resilient because of strong demand and pricing power,” he added.

Shares of Exxon Mobil and Chevron rose on Friday after the energy giants topped earnings expectations. Starbucks, however, was under pressure after revenue from China missed expectations.

All three major averages posted their fourth positive week in a row and finished solidly higher for the month. The Nasdaq gained 7.2% for October, while the S&P 500 gained 6.9%. The Dow rose 5.8% for its best month since March. The month marked a rebound from September, where the major indexes declined.

Market sentiment was also helped by developments in Washington. On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced a framework for a $1.75 trillion social spending deal. The agreement, which is expected to make it easier to pass the separate infrastructure spending bill currently stalled on Capitol Hill, came in lighter on spending and taxes than earlier proposals.

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Yung-Yu Ma, chief investment strategist at BMO Wealth Management, said the deal appeared to be in a “sweet spot” and should create more optimism among investors.

“The tax portion of it is looking like it’s going to come in probably below all of the original expectations. So the burden for specifically corporate taxes is going to be lower than the concerns and the expectations in the marketplace were,” Ma said.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke to CNBC on Friday morning, saying she was hopeful that the administration’s infrastructure package would be approved soon while saying she does not believe it will add to the inflation problems the U.S. has been experiencing.

“It will boost the economy’s potential to grow, the economy’s supply potential, which tends to push inflation down, not up,” Yellen said during a live “Worldwide Exchange” interview.

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