Business briefing

The daily business briefing: October 22, 2021

The CDC signs off on Moderna and J&J boosters, Trump partner's stock jumps on news of social media plan, and more

1

CDC approves Moderna, J&J boosters and mix-and-match vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has signed off on the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson coronavirus boosters, clearing the way for eligible, fully vaccinated Americans at risk of severe COVID-19 to get the shots beginning Friday. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky also went along with the recommendation of expert advisers and the Food and Drug Administration to let people mix-and-match vaccines, so eligible people will be able to choose a booster made by a different company than the one that made their initial vaccine. Walensky said in a statement Thursday night that the vaccines had been shown to be safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, "as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given." 

2

Trump partner's shares soar on news of planned social media platform

Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. surged by as much as 316 percent on Thursday, a day after the announcement that it was backing former President Donald Trump's planned social media platform. Trump's new company, Trump Media & Technology Group, said Wednesday night that it had "entered into a definitive merger agreement" with DWAC. Trump, who was banned by Twitter and Facebook following the Jan. 6 insurrection by a mob of his supporters, said his new venture would launch its own social media platform, Truth Social, to "stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech." Within hours, pranksters found what appeared to be a test version of the site, created an account under the name "donaldjtrump," and posted a picture of a defecating pig.

3

Oversight board accuses Facebook of lack of transparency 

Facebook's independent Oversight Board on Thursday criticized the social media giant for a lack of transparency, finding it failed to be "fully forthcoming" regarding a policy for high-profile users. The Facebook Oversight Board, an independent body that reviews Facebook content moderation decisions, released a transparency report as the company faces scrutiny over a whistleblower's critical congressional testimony. After The Wall Street Journal reported that a Facebook "cross-check" system exempts high-profile users from standard moderation rules, the board also said Facebook has "not been fully forthcoming" about this to the board. For example, the board said Facebook didn't initially mention this cross-check system when it asked for a review of the decision to suspend former President Donald Trump, an omission the board described as "not acceptable."

4

Stock futures struggle after S&P 500's latest record

U.S. stock index futures were mixed early Friday after some technology companies reported disappointing quarterly results in an otherwise strong earnings season. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were flat several hours before the opening bell. Futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq were down by 0.3 percent. Intel shares fell by more than 8 percent after the semiconductor company reported weaker than expected sales. Snap shares fell by 21 percent after it said Apple privacy changes hurt its advertising business. The news dragged down other social media stocks in extended trading. The S&P rose by 0.3 percent to a record high on Thursday with a lift from earlier strong earnings reports. Out of 101 S&P 500 members reporting so far, 82.6 percent have beaten expectations.

5

Powell sets new investment restrictions for Fed leaders

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell imposed tougher personal-investing restrictions on top Fed officials in response to a stock-trading controversy that drove two reserve bank presidents to resign, the central bank said Thursday. The changes limit senior officials' trading to mutual funds and other broad-based investments, and require trades to be preapproved and pre-scheduled. The restrictions are designed to avoid the potential for the appearance that any of the Fed's policy makers, including its 12 reserve bank presidents and seven members of its Washington-based board of governors, are profiting from inside information. Powell, a Republican, has been considered likely to keep his job when his term expires early next year. The controversy has fueled opposition to his nomination from some Democrats. 

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