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.
NEW PILL DROPS
As The Matrix Resurrections hit theaters this weekend, many viewers may be asking themselves if they'd take the red pill or the blue pill. But if that's too heady for you, Pfizer has a third option. The FDA has granted emergency authorization to Pfizer’s COVID treatment pill. This is the first treatment to come in pill form and could be available as early as this weekend outside of hospitals. It's aimed at patients who are vulnerable to hospitalization or death and must be administered within five days of experiencing symptoms. Hot off that decision, the FDA also authorized Merck's slightly less effective antiviral pill, which is aimed at high-risk adults. Still, both stocks were down on the week thanks to broader worries about COVID-19.
After a jumpy week, markets are settling into the holiday weekend on some solid gains. The S&P ended at another record high on Thursday — even as the Commerce Department reported that inflation was up 5.7 percent from last year, stoking fears that consumer spending could soon drop off. As for the omicron fears that dragged on markets earlier in the week, a speech from President Joe Biden downplaying the need for lockdowns, and emerging evidence that the variant is behind significantly fewer deaths and hospitalizations, helped calm markets.
BUILD BACK SLOWER
On the news that Sen. Joe Manchin would not support Biden's Build Back Better legislation, Goldman Sachs lowered its GDP growth forecast for 2022. It now expects 2 percent growth in the first quarter, down from 3 percent in its initial projection. The investment bank also pointed to inflation concerns contributing to its lowered expectations. In the meantime, Biden is trying to salvage the $2 trillion package, which takes aim at climate change and other social issues.
Tesla is getting heat from federal regulators for a feature that allows drivers to play video games on a dashboard touchscreen while their cars are in motion. Originally designed for passengers to play while the car was parked, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the feature has been available to drivers as well since December 2020. The investigation comes as regulators look more closely at Tesla's driver-assist and autopilot features, which are behind at least 11 other NHTSA investigations involving 17 injuries and one death. Tesla bulls, however, took the federal scrutiny in stride. The company's stock rose more than 5 percent on Thursday.
SONY MEGA MERGER
Sony is finishing 2021 strong. The company's late-year release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which was co-produced with Disney, broke box office records. Now Sony is striking a deal aimed at increasing competition with its producing partner. The company's India unit has finalized a deal to merge with local rival Zee Entertainment, which aims to claw back market share from the likes of Disney and Netflix in the country. Shares of Sony rose on the news.