The daily business briefing: May 24, 2022

Starbucks says it's leaving Russia, Pfizer reports its COVID booster is effective in kids under 5, and more

A Starbucks in Russia
(Image credit: Vlad Karkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

1. Starbucks announces it's leaving Russia

Starbucks announced Monday that it is leaving Russia after operating in the country for 15 years. The coffee giant joins a rising number of companies from the United States and other countries that have decided to exit the Russian market over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. McDonald's, Exxon Mobil, and British American Tobacco have already announced they are ending operations in Russia. Starbucks said it would pay its nearly 2,000 Russian employees for another six months and help them find other jobs. Starbucks had already suspended its Russia business activities on March 8, closing cafes and halting shipments of Starbucks products.


2. Pfizer says COVID booster effective in kids under 5

A booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine produces a strong immune response in children under age 5, Pfizer said Monday. The company said a trial of a third dose of its vaccine in kids older than six months and younger than 5 years old found the vaccine's efficacy to be 80.3 percent. Children in the trial received a third shot, a smaller dose than adults receive, two months after the second dose. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company hopes to soon ask regulators to approve the booster for young children. BioNTech founder Ugur Sahin said the booster appears to provide "high level of protection against the recent COVID-19 strains."

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3. Stock futures fall after Monday's comeback rally

U.S. stock futures dropped early Tuesday following Monday's comeback rally. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down 0.8 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively, at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were down 1.7 percent. All three of the main U.S. indexes jumped on Monday, rebounding after last week's losses in volatile trading. The Dow jumped 618 points or nearly 2 percent on Monday. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained 1.9 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. Stocks have fallen in recent weeks on mounting concerns that Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes designed to fight high inflation could tip the economy into a recession. The S&P 500 is down 17 percent from its January high.

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4. Snap shares drop after it warns it will miss estimates

Snap shares plunged by more than 30 percent in after-hours trading after the Snapchat parent warned Monday that its second-quarter revenue would probably come in below its earlier guidance because the economy has "deteriorated further and faster than anticipated." The company said in late April it expected revenue to grow between 20 percent and 25 percent compared to a year earlier, but it now expects something short of the low end of that range. The company said in a memo reported late Monday by The Wall Street Journal that it would slow hiring and seek other cost savings for the rest of 2022, saying this remains "a significant investment year" as it follows through with plans to add 500 employees by the start of 2023.


5. 28 Activision Blizzard workers to join union

Workers in Activision Blizzard's Raven Software subsidiary voted Monday to join the Communication Workers of America union in the video game industry's most high-profile successful labor organizing win. Under the 19-to-3 vote, 28 quality assurance testers who work on the company's popular Call of Duty game series will be forming a union they'll call the Game Workers Alliance. "Our biggest hope is that our union serves as inspiration for the growing movement of workers organizing at video game studios to create better games and build workplaces that reflect our values and empower all of us," alliance members said in a statement. Activision Blizzard spokesperson Kelvin Liu said the company respects "the right of all employees to decide whether or not to support or vote for a union."


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