Business briefing

The daily business briefing: June 29, 2022

Disney's board extends CEO Bob Chapek's contract, experts recommend the FDA push a new booster targeting Omicron, and more

1

Disney board extends CEO Bob Chapek's contract

Disney's board of directors unanimously voted to extend CEO Bob Chapek's contract for another three years, the company said Tuesday. Chapek, previously chair of Disney Parks, has served as CEO of Disney since 2020 after Bob Iger stepped down, but his failure to speak out against Florida's "Parental Rights in Education" law, which critics call the Don't Say Gay bill, prompted a backlash from employees and raised questions about his future. Chapek ultimately did speak out against the bill, and apologized to Disney's LGBTQ+ employees for not doing so sooner. Disney's condemnation of the bill then sparked backlash from Florida Republicans, including Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

2

Experts urge FDA to push for new vaccine targeting Omicron

A panel of experts on Tuesday recommended that the Food and Drug Administration push for a coronavirus booster shot tweaked to target the Omicron variant now dominating new COVID-19 cases. The Biden administration hopes to make the new shots available later this year to help fight an expected winter coronavirus resurgence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants account for more than half of new U.S. cases. Dr. Peter Marks, who oversees the FDA's vaccine division, said the formula will have to be identified "very rapidly" to get the booster ready by fall. Vaccine manufacturers Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are expected to need about three months to produce doses once the plan is finalized.

3

Tesla shuts one of its California offices, laying off 200 workers

Tesla is shutting down one of its offices in California's Silicon Valley, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. The electric-car maker will lay off about 200 people, or about half the staff who worked in the San Mateo office, where workers focused on improving the company's advanced driver-assistance system, Autopilot. The move is the latest in a series of job cuts Tesla has announced in recent weeks as it scales back to counter rising costs. CEO Elon Musk has told Tesla workers the company will have to cut 10 percent of its salaried workforce due to signs of weakness in the global economy.

4

Stock futures struggle after rally stalls 

U.S. stock futures shifted between slight gains and losses early Wednesday as the market struggled to resume its recent rebound. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down less than 0.1 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were down 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. The major indexes dropped on Tuesday after surging earlier in the session. The Dow and the S&P 500 closed down 1.6 percent and 2 percent, respectively. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 3 percent. As the second quarter ends, concerns about a possible recession are rising as the Federal Reserve vows to aggressively raise interest rates to bring down high inflation.

5

FTC sues Walmart over fraudulent wire transfers

The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday it is suing Walmart for failing to do enough to prevent scammers from using its money-transfer service for fraud. The FTC said the scams have cost consumers "tens of millions of dollars annually." Walmart's financial-services offerings include money transfers it handles for companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram. The FTC says Walmart has routinely gone ahead with payouts in cases of suspected fraud, even though the retail giant was "well aware" that fraudsters were posing as everything from distressed grandchildren to government officials. Walmart said it would fight the lawsuit, calling it "factually flawed and legally baseless."

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