Once again, technology stocks are leading markets higher, as investors look for meaningful signs of a lasting economic recovery. Today, the markets are responding to news that two companies, Pfizer and BioNTech, have been granted “fast track” status by the FDA for coronavirus vaccine candidates.
“Pfizer and BioNTech said they expect to start the next phase of the vaccine trial later this month with 30,000 subjects,” writes Fred Imbert of CNBC. “The companies expect to have 100 million doses of a vaccine by the end of 2020 and more than 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021, according to a release.”
In addition to positive news from the biotechs, markets are signaling their approval of consumer-facing tech firms and chipmakers.
“Key technology shares climbed in premarket, continuing their mystifying run as investors bet on their resilience during the coronavirus. Apple, Amazon and Netflix were higher in premarket trading. Tesla jumped 5%,” Imbert writes. “Chip stocks increased after Analog Devices offered to buy Maxim Integrated in a $21 billion all-stock deal. Maxim jumped 17% in premarket trading.”
Markets were also buoyed by recent news of Walmart’s plans to “launch a new subscription service later this month called Walmart+ that will cost $98 a year. It will include perks like same-day delivery of groceries and general merchandise, discounts on fuel at Walmart gas stations, and early access to product deals,” writes Jason Del Rey in Vox. “Walmart originally planned to unveil Walmart+ in late March or April, Recode reported in February, but the retailer pushed back the launch date after the Covid-19 pandemic began sweeping across the U.S. in March. It’s unclear whether the program will launch nationally, or first on a regional level, later this month.”
Clearly, Walmart’s move is aimed at taking market share from rival Amazon. Although most people associate Amazon and Walmart with consumer retailing, both companies have been innovative and aggressive leaders in the tech space for the past two decades.
From my perspective as a technology leader, I find it inspiring that our industry has taken a prominent role in helping people at every level cope with the pandemic, and, hopefully, laying the groundwork for a brighter future.
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