1. FDA advisers say Moderna vaccine safe, effective in kids 6-17
A panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers voted unanimously on Tuesday to recommend authorizing the emergency use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 6 to 17 — two full doses for kids 12-17, half-doses for those 6-11. The endorsement by the FDA's outside experts put the Moderna shot one step closer to becoming the second vaccine approved for school-aged children, joining the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The same panel will meet Wednesday to consider whether the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines also are safe and effective for children under 5, the only age group in the United States without an approved coronavirus vaccine. Once the FDA signs off, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make the final decision on formal approval.
2. Supplier prices surge in latest sign of persistent inflation
The prices charged by U.S. suppliers surged in May, rising a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent from the prior month and 10.8 percent compared to last May. The increase in the producer-price index came as rising food and energy prices keep inflation at its highest level in decades; consumer prices rose 8.6 percent in May compared with a year earlier. Economists are watching the data closely for signs that inflation is peaking as the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates and reduces the bond holdings it purchased to boost the recovery from the coronavirus crisis. The Fed is expected to announce an unusually large half- or three-quarter-percentage point increase in short-term interest rates when it concludes a two-day meeting on Wednesday.
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3. Caterpillar moving headquarters from Illinois to Texas
Caterpillar announced Tuesday it plans to move its global headquarters from Illinois to Irving, Texas, where it already has a divisional office. CEO Jim Umpleby said in a statement that the move will be "in the best strategic interest of the company," noting that the heavy-machinery maker has had operations in Texas for more than 50 years. Illinois still has the world's largest concentration of Caterpillar employees, but the departure of the company's global headquarters marked a blow for Chicago, which lost aerospace giant Boeing's headquarters to Arlington, Virginia, last month. The change gave Texas another gain after welcoming Tesla's headquarters last year; CEO Elon Musk said the electric-car maker's former home in California's Silicon Valley had "too much influence in the world."
4. Gas prices rise to an average $5.01 per gallon nationwide
The national average price for regular gasoline rose 10 cents to $5.01 per gallon, according to data released Tuesday by AAA. Ten states saw their average pump prices jump by 21 cents or more in the seven-day period that ended Monday. "The high price of oil coupled with high domestic demand is keeping these gas prices elevated for consumers," AAA spokesman Andrew Gross told Fox Business. The national average is now up 56 cents compared to a month ago, and $1.93 compared to a year ago, according to AAA.
5. Stock futures rise ahead of Fed decision
U.S. stock futures rose early Wednesday ahead of what is expected to be a large interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, at 6:30 a.m. ET. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 0.6 percent. The S&P 500 fell deeper into bear market territory on Tuesday as it capped a five-day losing streak amid mounting concerns that high inflation and the Fed's aggressive effort to contain it would tip the economy into a recession. The S&P 500 fell 0.4 percent on Tuesday. The Dow dropped 0.5 percent. The Nasdaq gained 0.2 percent. Fed policy makers complete their two-day meeting later Wednesday. They are widely expected to raise interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point, which would be the biggest hike since 1994.
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