The daily business briefing: December 11, 2020

An FDA panel recommends approving emergency use of Pfizer vaccine, Airbnb shares skyrocket in their market debut, and more

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(Image credit: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images)

1. FDA panel recommends approving Pfizer vaccine for emergency use

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee on Thursday recommended authorizing emergency use of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, saying the potential benefits outweigh the risks. The independent panel's decision cleared the way for the expected approval of the two-shot vaccine for people 16 and older. The vaccine developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech was the first to go through the FDA review. The federal government is gearing up for a massive vaccination campaign to begin next week, starting with health workers and other priority groups. Moderna announced Thursday that it had started giving adolescent trial participants doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. A late-stage trial showed its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to be almost 95 percent effective in adults. The company has applied to the FDA for emergency-use authorization.

Politico Reuters

2. Airbnb shares shoot up by 112 percent in market debut

Airbnb shares more than doubled on Thursday in their first day of trading. Airbnb priced its initial offering of stock at $68 on Wednesday night. When the market opened, it shot to $146 per share. The home-rental startup's stock closed at $144.71, an increase of 112 percent. The gains gave the company a market capitalization of $86.5 billion, roughly equal to the valuation of travel giant Booking and more than doubling the market caps of the Marriott and Hilton hotel chains. Airbnb's IPO was the 10th best of the year based on its first-day price gain. Overall, Wall Street was mixed on Thursday. U.S. stock index futures fell early Friday as negotiations on a new round of coronavirus relief remained stalled in Congress.

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3. Jobless claims rise more than expected

The Labor Department reported on Thursday that 853,000 Americans filed first-time jobless claims last week, up 137,000 from the previous week's revised level of 716,000. The figure far exceeded the 730,000 claims economists had been expecting. It was the highest weekly total since Sept. 19. The rise came as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths surged across the United States. The nation on Wednesday set a record for daily coronavirus deaths with more than 3,000 in a single day. The numbers marked the latest in a series of indications that hiring is slowing as some states impose new stay-at-home and business restrictions. The Labor Department last week released a disappointing jobs report showing that only 245,000 jobs were added in November. Economists had expected 440,000 new jobs.

Bloomberg CNBC

4. Disney announces Disney+ programming expansion, price hike

Walt Disney Co. on Thursday unveiled plans for new Marvel and Star Wars series in an expansion of its Disney+ subscription streaming service. The new fare will include two spinoffs of The Mandalorian, the popular Star Wars series that has provided Disney+ with a boost since its launch. Disney said it would release 10 new TV series in both the Marvel and Star Wars franchises over the next few years. The entertainment giant also will make another 15 live-action Disney Animation and Pixar shows, and 15 Disney Animation and Pixar feature films available to subscribers. Disney also will hike the Disney+ price by $1 to $7.99 a month. Disney+ has added 13 million customers since October, bringing its total to 86.8 million subscribers.


5. Boris Johnson warns no-deal Brexit a 'strong possibility'

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Thursday that there was a "strong possibility" the United Kingdom and the European Union would not be able to reach a post-Brexit trade deal. Britain officially left the EU on Jan. 31, and started an 11-month transition period. If the two sides don't strike a new agreement before Dec. 31, the U.K. will stop following EU trade rules. Both sides would then be faced with potentially costly taxes and border controls. The EU and the U.K. are engaged in last-ditch talks, but on Saturday they released a joint statement saying that they had made progress but remained divided on three major issues, "level playing field, governance, and fisheries." "Now is the time for the public and for businesses to get ready for January the first. Because believe me, there's going to be change either way," Johnson said.

The Hill

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