The daily business briefing: September 27, 2021
Pelosi delays infrastructure vote, Shang-Chi becomes year's biggest grossing movie at domestic box office, and more
Pelosi delays infrastructure vote as Democrats seek unity
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday night that the House would vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill on Thursday, delaying beyond a previous Monday deadline to give Democrats time to work out their differences on President Biden's larger domestic policy package. The new timetable would provide just enough time to strike a deal to avert a possible government shutdown. Pelosi said she was still working on getting Democrats unified behind President Biden's $3.5 trillion spending bill, which Democrats in the evenly split Senate can pass without Republican votes using a process called budget reconciliation. Some moderate Democrats want to make deep cuts to the legislation, and Pelosi said it "seems self-evident" that its cost will be lowered.
Shang-Chi becomes highest grossing movie of 2021
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings held onto the top spot at the box office for the fourth straight weekend, becoming the highest-grossing domestic release of 2021. The latest Marvel film has generated $196.5 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada since its Sept. 3 debut, surpassing Disney's other recent Marvel film, Black Widow, and Universal's F9. Shang-Chi was one of Disney's first films to be released only in theaters after a string of films were released via streaming even after theaters reopened. After the success of Shang-Chi, the studio plans to release the rest of its 2021 theaters only in theaters. "The film's run is a strong statement for how lucrative theatrical exclusivity remains to the industry's ecosphere," said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com.
Pfizer to submit children's COVID-19 vaccine data to FDA in days
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Sunday that the company plans to submit data from COVID-19 vaccine trials for children between ages 5 and 11 to the Food and Drug Administration within "days, not weeks." Last week, Pfizer revealed that the vaccine it developed in tandem with BioNTech was safe and effective within the age group even with a smaller dose than the one that's been approved for ages 12 and up. Once the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sign off, younger children will be able to get vaccinated, which will likely help schools prevent outbreaks. Bourla, speaking on ABC's This Week, also said it would be possible to provide enough doses for both the unvaccinated and those eligible for booster shots.
U.K. offers temporary work visas to ease truck-driver shortage
The British government over the weekend announced that it would make more than 10,000 foreign workers eligible to receive temporary visas to work as truck drivers and food-industry employees. The move marked a major departure for Boris Johnson's administration, which took over to lead Britain's exit from the European Union in January 2020. Johnson's government has overhauled Britain's immigration system in a bid to end the country's reliance on cheap, unskilled foreign labor, but it is making an exception this fall hoping to ease a supply-chain bottleneck and prevent the crisis from intensifying during the busy Christmas season. Business groups have been warning of the spreading labor shortages for months, and said the emergency visas might not be enough to ease the crisis.
Stock futures mixed after another week of volatility
U.S. stock index futures were mixed early Monday ahead of the final week of September's volatile trading. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up by 0.3 percent and 0.1 percent respectively several hours before the opening bell. Futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq were down by 0.2 percent. Stocks dropped sharply early last week on concerns about the debt crisis of China's real estate giant Evergrande, but those fears have waned. The three major U.S. averages rebounded later last week after the Federal Reserve boosted investor confidence by indicating that the recovery was strong enough for it to start soon to taper the asset purchases it has used to boost the economy during the pandemic.