Stocks were mixed at the open on Friday with the Dow adding 23 points, or less than 0.1%. The S&P 500 opened just below the flatline, while the Nasdaq dropped 0.3%.
One in five Americans are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data posted to the CDC’s website late yesterday, while a third of the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine. The U.S. is currently administering a seven-day average of 3 million vaccine doses per day as daily case counts remain below levels seen during the winter peak but in line with the surge seen last summer. As the U.S. speeds toward inoculating its population, the World Health Organization said today that of the 700 million vaccine doses that have been distributed across the globe, “over 87% have gone to high-income or upper- and middle-income countries, while low-income countries have received just 0.2%.” On average, 1 in 4 people in high-income countries have received a coronavirus vaccine, compared with just 1 in more than 500 in low-income countries. “There remains a shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
In other vaccine news, Europe’s drug regulator said it is reviewing reports of rare blood clots in four people who received Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine, and has also expanded its probe into AstraZeneca’s shot to include reports of a bleeding condition. Of the four serious cases of clotting and low platelets found with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said three occurred in the U.S. during the rollout of J&J’s vaccine from its Janssen unit and one of the three died while another was a case reported during a clinical trial. “At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine,” J&J said in a statement.
Boeing shares are down 1.6% this morning after U.S. airlines temporarily grounded more than 60 Boing 737 MAX jets after the playmaker asked 16 carriers who operate the jet to address an electrical power system issue in the aircraft. The FAA said Boeing had notified it late Thursday of its recommendation to temporarily remove some planes from service to address a manufacturing issue that could affect the operation of a backup power control unit. “We are also informing our customers of specific tail numbers affected, and we will provide direction on appropriate corrective actions,” Boeing said in a statement.”
Netflix announced it has inked a deal with Sony Group Pictures for exclusive streaming rights for its movies after their theatrical and home entertainment releases beginning next year. The deal includes films such as “Morbius,” “Uncharted,” and “Bullet Train.” As part of the deal, Netflix will also be able to place films such as “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and future Spider-Man and Venom films on its platform, while franchises like Jumanji and Bad Boys are also included in the deal. Sony Pictures said in a statement, “Netflix and Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) have… announced a multiyear, exclusive first pay window licensing deal in the U.S. for theatrically released SPE feature films, beginning with their 2022 film slate. This new agreement builds upon Netflix’s pre-existing output deal with Sony Pictures Animation films to now include all SPE film labels and genres.”
McDonald’s is closing hundreds of its locations in Walmart stores as customers increasingly shop online and opt for the drive-thru window. The fast-food giant previously had a peak of 1,000 locations in Walmarts in the U.S., and will close many of the 150 locations that still remain across Walmart’s 3,570 SuperCenters. Walmart plans to convert former McDonald’s locations into other types of restaurants and services, including some with a more regional feel or unique spin, Walmart spokeswoman Molly Blakeman said, adding that the company is testing locations with Yum Brand’s Taco Bell and Domino’s Pizza, as well as locations with a smoothie vending machine or ghost kitchens that cook for multiple brands or restaurants.
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Mogo Inc (NASDAQ: MOGO): Mogo announced yesterday that its wholly owned payments platform, Carta Worldwide, is extending its U.S. market deployment with an expanded edit card issuance service offering for fintech “challenger” banks. Carta has partnered with LendingClub Bank to power the new advanced debit card product offering and help businesses rapidly deploy next-generation digital banking solutions. Mogo President Greg Feller said in a press release, “LendingClub Bank is widely recognized as an innovator and fintech pioneer, and they have a broad and growing base of business customers across the U.S., which make them a great first partner as we expand into the U.S. market.”