The daily business briefing: June 14, 2021
Novavax says trial showed its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, Swiss voters reject proposed "carbon dioxide law," and more
Novavax says trial showed its COVID-19 vaccine to be safe, effective
U.S. biotech firm Novavax said Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine was shown to be safe, and 90 percent effective at preventing illness in Phase 3 clinical trials conducted in the United States and Mexico. The company also said the vaccine was 100 percent effective against moderate and severe disease. Novavax had already conducted a similar trial in the U.K., but the U.S. results were necessary for the company to apply for emergency use authorization here, which it plans to do in the third quarter of 2021. If the Food and Drug Administration authorizes the vaccine for emergency use, it will be the fourth shot cleared for use in the country, joining vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
Exit polls: Swiss voters reject 'carbon dioxide law'
Swiss voters appeared to have rejected a proposed "carbon dioxide law" that sought to raise taxes on fuels linked to emissions that cause climate change, according to exit polls on Sunday. Switzerland's temperatures have been rising at twice the global average, according to its government, which has concluded that greenhouse gases are the primary cause. The initiative, proposed by the anti-pesticide citizens group Future 3, sought to bolster an existing law intended to reduce the Alpine nation's CO2 emissions this decade. The measure would have imposed new taxes on natural gas and fuels that generate carbon dioxide. It also would have added an airline-ticket tax. The Swiss farming sector had strongly opposed the proposal, as had the government, which feared the taxes would have reduced farm production and driven up food prices.
Stock futures hold steady after S&P 500's latest record
U.S. stock futures were flat early Monday following the S&P 500's record close on Friday. Futures tied to the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up by less than 0.1 percent several hours before the opening bell. Futures tied to the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.2 percent. Wall Street could be steered this week by the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting, which starts Tuesday and concludes with a statement at 2 p.m. Wednesday. Fed Chair Jerome Powell is expected to affirm the central bank's policies to boost the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic despite rising inflation. "Any evidence suggesting monetary tightening is being moved forward will likely bring volatility to the stock market," Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group, told CNBC.
Bitcoin surges after Musk's latest cryptocurrency comments
Bitcoin surged on Sunday after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the electric-car maker would again accept payment with the cryptocurrency once 50 percent of the energy used to mine it comes from clean energy sources. Musk's statement came as part of a response to a Twitter reference to a CoinTelegraph article accusing Musk, a prominent cryptocurrency backer, of selling off 10 percent of Tesla's cryptocurrency holdings in a "bitcoin pump and dump." Musk replied that Tesla had only sold part of its bitcoin investment "to confirm [bitcoin] could be liquidated easily without moving the market." Bitcoin rose by about 8 percent on Sunday to just about $38,808, putting it up by 28 percent this year but down 40 percent from its April peak at $64,829.
U.S. father and son plead guilty in Japan to helping Ghosn escape
An American father and son, former Green Beret Michael Taylor and his son Peter Maxwell Taylor, pleaded guilty in a Tokyo courtroom on Monday to helping former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn manage to slip out of house arrest in Tokyo and travel to the western city of Osaka. There, he was smuggled onto a private plane hiding in a speaker box. He then flew to Turkey and on to Lebanon, where he holds citizenship and has managed to evade a Japanese justice system he says is out to destroy him. The Taylors were arrested by U.S. federal marshals in Massachusetts in spring 2020. They fought extradition but were handed over to Japanese authorities in March. The Taylors face up to three years in prison, but could get credit for the time they were jailed in the U.S. Michael Taylor, 60, worked in private security.