Business briefing

The daily business briefing: February 1, 2022

Spotify shares rebound after Joe Rogan vows to "do better" on COVID information, the FDA gives full approval to Moderna's vaccine, and more

1

Spotify shares rebound after Rogan apology

Spotify's stock rebounded Monday from a plunge triggered by allegations that podcast host Joe Rogan was spreading COVID-19 misinformation. The shares had dropped from $193.56 per share on Jan. 24 to $173 per share as of Friday after singer Joni Mitchell and other artists joined folk-rock star Neil Young by removing their music from the streaming platform to protest Rogan's inaccurate comments about coronavirus vaccines and treatments. The stock jumped back to $195.36 per share, rising 12 percent on Monday after Rogan apologized for his COVID comments and promised to "do better," and Citigroup lifted its rating on the shares to "buy" from "neutral." Spotify said it would add a content advisory to COVID-centered episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience, a key show in its bid to expand beyond music.

2

FDA gives full approval to Moderna coronavirus vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday gave full approval for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine. The drug, Spikevax, is the second coronavirus vaccine to become fully licensed in the United States. The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine was the first, receiving full FDA approval in August. Also on Monday, Maryland-based Novavax submitted its long-awaited application for emergency use authorization for its vaccine. Novavax's vaccine is made differently than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which use messenger RNA to provoke an immune-system response to the virus. Novavax's shot is a protein vaccine, delivering nanoparticles of the coronavirus spike protein to get the immune system to attack the infection.

3

New York Times buys Wordle

The New York Times announced Monday that it has purchased Wordle, the word game that went viral this year. Only 90 people played Wordle on Nov. 1. The number grew to 300,000 by mid-January. By the end of the month, millions of people were trying to solve the daily word puzzle. The game's creator, software engineer Josh Wardle, created it in 2013 and released it in October, but its popularity exploded when he made it easy for players to share results on Twitter and Facebook. Wardle said the Times paid a price "in the low seven figures." The purchase was part of the newspaper's effort to use games to help in a push to boost digital subscriptions. Wordle will remain free for now, the Times said.

4

Sony to buy video-game developer Bungie for $3.6 billion

Sony announced Monday that it would acquire video-game developer Bungie for $3.6 billion. Bungie is best known for creating the popular Destiny series and the original Halo games. Halo was available on Microsoft's Xbox when the software maker owned the game, which has since moved to 343 Industries, but it couldn't be played on Sony's PlayStation. "This is an important step in our strategy to expand the reach of PlayStation to a much wider audience," Sony Interactive Entertainment President Jim Ryan said. "We understand how vital Bungie's community is to the studio and look forward to supporting them as they remain independent and continue to grow."

5

Stock futures edge down after Monday's rally

U.S. stock futures fell slightly early Tuesday after the major averages rose Monday to close out a painful January. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.1 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. Futures for the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 were down by 0.2 percent. The three main U.S. averages rallied on Monday, driven by technology shares. The tech-heavy Nasdaq led the gains, jumping by 3.4 percent. The Dow and the S&P 500 rose by 1.2 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, on the last day of January. The Nasdaq and the S&P still had their worst months since the coronavirus crisis hit the U.S. in March 2020, falling by 8.9 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively. It was the sharpest January drop for the S&P 500 since 2009. The Dow fell by 3.3 percent in January.

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