Business briefing

The daily business briefing: January 18, 2023

Goldman Sachs reports disappointing earnings as deal-making slows, Musk's shareholder lawsuit over infamous tweet gets underway, and more

1

Goldman Sachs reports disappointing earnings

Goldman Sachs on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter profit of $1.3 billion, a 66 percent drop from the same period a year earlier as deal-making slowed on Wall Street. The profit came to $3.32 per share, well below the $5.56 analysts polled by FactSet had expected. Revenue came in at $10.6 billion, short of the $10.8 billion analysts expected and 16 percent lower than a year earlier. Goldman has had a rough start this year. Last week, it announced it was laying off 3,000 employees and said it was pulling back on its costly and unsuccessful push into consumer banking, which has lost $3 billion since 2019.

2

Tesla civil suit starts over Musk tweets

Elon Musk is facing a lawsuit brought by shareholders over an infamous, misleading 2018 tweet in which he revealed that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share, and declared, "Funding secured." The Tesla investors say Musk, Tesla's CEO, hadn't really lined up the money to carry out such a plan, and that he was reckless to make the claim and publicly discuss his undeveloped plan. Tesla shares rose 11 percent on the day of the tweet to $387.46, but a month later had dropped to $263.24. Tesla shares skyrocketed a year after the tweet, and they're still up 384 percent from the close on the day of the tweet, even after a recent 70 percent decline. The trial started Tuesday with jury selection.

3

White House, House Republicans in standoff as debt ceiling deadline looms

The Biden administration and House Republicans edged closer to an initial Thursday deadline on raising the federal debt ceiling with no signs of progress toward ending a standoff. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned last week the nation would reach the $31.4 trillion borrowing cap and have to start resorting to "extraordinary measures" to keep from exceeding it. Republicans are demanding huge spending cuts before agreeing to raising the debt ceiling. Democrats have refused to discuss concessions. "We will not be doing any negotiation," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said last week. Without adjusting the limit, the government could eventually face a default that could have catastrophic effects on the economy and markets.

4

Moderna's stock rises after it says RSV vaccine safe, effective

Moderna shares shot up by nearly 7 percent in extended trading after the drug maker announced Tuesday that its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine was 83.7 percent effective in preventing symptoms in adults age 60 and older. Moderna said the vaccine was 82.4 percent effective against lower respiratory tract disease with three or more symptoms. The company said no safety concerns emerged in the clinical trial, which has signed up 37,000 people in 22 countries. Moderna said it planned to apply for Food and Drug Administration approval in the first half of 2023. Moderna, Pfizer, and GSK Plc. are vying to be the first to get FDA approval for RSV vaccines.

5

Dow rattled by investment bank earnings, China slowdown

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.1 percent on Tuesday, dragged down by disappointing earnings from two investment banks and China's slowdown in economic growth. Goldman Sachs fell 6.4 percent after reporting disappointing quarterly profits. Morgan Stanley also reported lower profits due to a significant drop in deal-making, The Wall Street Journal reported. The S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.1 percent, extending its winning streak to seven days, its longest since November 2021. U.S. stock futures were little changed early Wednesday as earnings season continued. United Airlines shares gained more than 2 percent in premarket trading after its quarterly earnings beat expectations as travel demand strengthened.

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