From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, these are the top stories that moved markets and had investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs talking this week on Cheddar.
PFIZER LEADS AS PHARMA LAGS
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, already a big name in the fight against COVID-19 with its vaccine co-produced with BioNTech, made an even bigger splash this week, announcing that its experimental antiviral pill cuts COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths by 90 percent. Shares surged more than 10 percent following the news, but the success of one didn't do much for the market sector overall. Pfizer's rival Moderna delivered a weak earnings report, and while Merck was able to get UK authorization for its antiviral treatment, the preliminary numbers on its pill have so far shown only about a 50 percent effectiveness against hospitalizations and deaths. Stock in both Moderna and Merck plunged this week as the overall pharmaceutical sector lagged markets that found themselves soaring after a stellar October jobs report. Another company making the downward plunge today was Peloton, cratering more than 39 percent on dour predictions now that gyms like Planet Fitness are reopening and ongoing supply chain constraints.
ZILLOW CLOSES THE DOOR ON FLIPPING
Zillow is making a disastrous exit from the homebuying business. The real estate listing company was happily flipping homes as the market was skyrocketing during the pandemic. But, of course, what goes up must come down and now that home prices are stabilizing, Zillow is realizing its algorithm wasn't correctly predicting what those home values would be at this point. Now it's left holding the bag. It had to write down $340 million last quarter and is expecting to lose up to $265 million more in Q4. The stock absolutely tanked on the news, dropping almost 37 percent this week.
AVIS ZIPS BY SHORT SELLERS
Short sellers were outrun by Avis investors this week. The stock price tripled after the rental company unexpectedly announced that it handily beat expectations and saw Q3 sales higher than before the pandemic. No solid plans for electric vehicle acquisitions were announced, but after Hertz's big announcement that it's scooping up 100,000 Teslas, Avis Budget CEO Joe Ferraro did note the company is looking into it. Avis gained memestock status with the wild trading as did Bed Bath and Beyond, which saw its stock jump almost 60 percent on the week after it announced a partnership with grocery chain Kroger and shared details about its share buyback program.
NEW METAVERSE RACE
Microsoft, too, is preparing to enter the metaverse. A week after the company formerly known as Facebook Inc. announced that it was changing its name to Meta specifically to shift the company toward a future in the metaverse, Microsoft announced it'll be creating its own virtual world in Teams, complete with PowerPoint and Excel. Though the office workers of the world were perhaps groaning, Microsoft stock rose nearly 1.5 percent for the week. The increased competition didn't seem to damage Facebook, er, Meta, which saw its stock price rise sharply. But perhaps the real Wall Street winner of the new metaverse race was graphics chip maker Nvidia which will undoubtedly play an important role in the rollouts. Its stock jumped almost 16 percent this week.
IPO MANIA CONTINUES
The IPO market remains on track for a record-breaking number of companies tapping the public markets for capital this year. This week alone saw debuts from shoes to e-scooters. Sustainable footwear and apparel company Allbirds got off to a good start ending the week up more than 7 percent. Meanwhile, just Bird (singular), the e-scooter company looking to take gas-guzzling automobiles off city streets, also went public via a SPAC. Joining them were fintech credit card and loan marketplace, NerdWallet, and real estate marketplace LEX, which made history as the first company to offer shares in a commercial property — a building in New York City's Harlem — open to all investors on its platform or on OTC markets.