Stocks were higher at the open on Wednesday with the Dow gaining 49 points, or 0.1%. The S&P 500 added 0.2%, while the Nasdaq rose 0.6%.
President Joe Biden will unveil his $2.25 trillion infrastructure package in Pittsburgh this afternoon. The bill will include $620 billion for transportation, $650 billion for clean water and high-speed broadband, $580 billion for strengthening American manufacturing, and $400 billion to address improved care for the elderly and people with disabilities. To pay for the plan, the corporate income tax would increase from 21% to 28%, in addition to a 21% minimum tax on global corporate earnings. The White House said the corporate tax hikes will be “fully paying for the investments in this plan over the next 15 years.” “Like great projects of the past, the president’s plan will unify and mobilize the country to meet the great challenges of our time: the climate crisis and the ambitions of an autocratic China,” the White House said in a statement ahead of Biden’s speech this afternoon.
Pfizer said its COVID-19 vaccine was 100% effective in a final-stage trial of kids ages 12 to 15, setting the stage to vaccinate teens and pre-teens to get shots before the beginning of the next school year. The shot—developed in collaboration with BioNTech—is currently approved for people aged 16 and up, and the companies plan to submit the new data to regulators in the U.S. and Europe as soon as possible in a bid to amend their vaccine authorizations to include the younger age group. “We share the urgency to expand the authorization of our vaccine to use in younger populations and are encouraged by the clinical trial data from adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla in a statement.
You got us… Volkswagen said its previously reported name change to “Voltswagen” was an April Fools’ joke gone awry. “The renaming was designed to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fools’ Day,” VW said in a statement. “We will provide additional updates on this matter soon.” Tom Morton, chief strategy officer for U.S. advertising firm R/GA, said the stakes for electric vehicles are too high to joke about. “This is the most pressing challenge of the auto industry: ‘Can you go electric?’” Morton said. “Choosing to joke about it undermines their commitment.”
Lululemon shares are down more than 4% this morning following the company’s fourth quarter earnings report. The company reported an earnings beat with earnings per share coming in at $2.58 on revenue of $1.73 billion, compared to estimates for earnings per share of $2.49 on revenue of $1.66 billion. While Lululemon’s online sales surged 92% in the quarter, it demonstrated that shoppers are still hesitant to go back to stores, tempering investors’ reaction to the earnings beat.
And Goldman Sachs is close to offering its first investment vehicles for bitcoin and other digital assets for clients in its private wealth management unit. “We are working closely with teams across the firm to explore ways to offer thoughtful and appropriate access to the ecosystem for private wealth clients, and that is something we expect to offer in the near-term,” Mary Rich, who was recently named global head of digital assets for the unit, told CNBC. Rich added that the firm is looking at offering a “full spectrum” of investments in bitcoin and digital assets, “whether that’s through the physical bitcoin derivatives or traditional investment vehicles.”
Stocks We’re Watching
Spark Networks (OTC: LOV): Spark Networks rose as much as 28% yesterday after the online dating company announced that it will deliver live-streaming video to its largest brand, Zoosk, via an agreement with ParshipMeet Group. “We’re excited to bring an always on quality livestreaming service to Zoosk users, allowing them to make new connections more informally, in a fun and interactive fashion and enticing them to come back to our platform often,” said Eric Eichmann, Spark Networks CEO. “This is an important step in our commitment to build the best social dating platforms for meaningful relationships to help people find true, long lasting love.”