The daily business briefing: August 25, 2021
New Nasdaq record, major companies expand vaccine mandates, and more
Nasdaq closes above 15,000 for 1st time
The Nasdaq closed above the 15,000 level for the first time on Tuesday after gaining 0.5 percent, led by tech giants Microsoft, Google owner Alphabet, and Nvidia. The S&P 500 rose by 0.2 percent, also setting a record high after the market got a boost from the Food and Drug Administration's full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly 0.1 percent, leaving it just over 600 points from reaching 36,000 for the first time. Futures tied to the Nasdaq were up by 0.5 percent several hours before the opening bell on Wednesday. Futures linked to the Dow and the S&P 500 gained about 0.1 percent ahead of the Federal Reserve's closely watched annual summit.
CVS, Deloitte, Disney join companies expanding vaccine mandates
CVS Health, Deloitte, and Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday joined a growing number of companies expanding vaccine requirements for workers. The news came after the Food and Drug Administration issued full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, eliminating a key argument by vaccine opponents to such mandates. Louisiana State University said Tuesday it would require spectators over age 12 at Tiger Stadium to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. The companies said the requirements were necessary to reduce risk of the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant. "The FDA approval underscores the vaccine's safety and effectiveness, and we are pleased that it may help reassure any employees who have been hesitant to get vaccinated," Michael DeAngelis, a CVS Health spokesman, said in an email.
House narrowly passes $3.5 trillion budget framework
The House on Tuesday advanced a $3.5 trillion budget plan seeking to expand social safety net and climate programs. The 220-212 vote along party lines came after Democratic leaders overcame objections from moderates who did not want to approve the budget before House action on a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) quelled the revolt by tying the two measures together in one vote that passed the budget and committed the House to addressing the infrastructure proposal by Sept. 27. The budget plan was passed by the Senate this month. It will let Democrats move forward with a process known as reconciliation, which let Senate Democrats avoid a filibuster and pass it without Republican votes. "Today is a great day of pride for our country and for Democrats," Pelosi said.
Airbnb promises temporary housing for 20,000 Afghan refugees
Airbnb announced Tuesday that it would offer temporary housing for 20,000 Afghan refugees. The home-sharing company and its nonprofit Airbnb.org will work with resettlement agencies to determine the needs of refugees who have fled Afghanistan since the Taliban's takeover last week, and place them around the world. "The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the U.S. and elsewhere is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time," tweeted Brian Chesky, co-founder and chief executive officer of Airbnb. "We feel a responsibility to step up." The U.S. said Monday it had helped evacuate 48,000 people since Aug. 14. Airbnb said it had housed 165 Afghan refugees in the U.S. and was working with hosts to accommodate more.
Man who appeared on Nirvana's Nevermind album as naked baby files lawsuit
Spencer Elden, who appeared as a baby swimming underwater on the cover of Nirvana's classic 1991 album Nevermind, filed a lawsuit Tuesday claiming the photo showing him naked constitutes child pornography. Elden, 30, is seeking at least $150,000 each from surviving band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, Kurt Cobain's estate, and numerous other defendants. Variety notes that non-sexualized images of naked infants aren't normally considered pornography. "The image has generally been understood as a statement on capitalism, as it includes the digital imposition of a dollar bill on a fishhook that the baby appears to be enthusiastically swimming toward," Variety reports. Elden's lawyer claims the addition of the money makes naked baby Elden look "like a sex worker."