Stock Market Futures Inch Lower Ahead Of Major Bank Earnings
U.S. stock futures are marginally lower in early morning trading on Thursday this week. Overall, this could be the result of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’s latest release on consumer prices. Throughout June 2022, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is now showing a year-over-year gain of 9.1%. In other words, prices for a large array of consumer goods continue to swell as inflation holds at decades-high levels. To compare, the current 9.1% increase is above consensus Dow Jones economist estimates of 8.8%. This would mark the fastest pace of acceleration for the CPI since November 1981.
Commenting on the current state of things now is Michael Pearce, a senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. He starts by saying, “Overall, this report confirms that the Fed will need to hike by 75bp again at the end-July meeting.” Pearce continues, “While some will draw parallels with the shockingly bad May CPI report, the backdrop is markedly different — commodity prices have fallen sharply and we’ve seen clearer signs of an economic slowdown, both of which will contribute to weaker price pressures ahead.” While you digest all this mixed data on the economy, here is how the major U.S. stock indexes are doing now. As of 5:27 a.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq futures are trading lower by 1.11%, 1.21%, and 1.09% respectively.
Netflix Teams Up With Microsoft Via Ad-Supported Streaming Plan
Making headlines in the tech world today would be Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). For the most part, this would be thanks to the latest collaboration between the two. To explain, Netflix is focusing on offering a more affordable version of its streaming service to consumers. After all, as inflation runs rampant, this would cater to a wider range of potential subscribers. To do this, Netflix is planning to offer a cheaper streaming plan with the integration of ads. Namely, the latest update on this front would be that Netflix is teaming up with Microsoft to accomplish this.
Explaining all this in further detail is Netflix COO Greg Peters. He writes, “Microsoft has the proven ability to support all our needs as we together build a new ad-supported offering. More importantly, Microsoft offered the flexibility to innovate over time on both the technology and sales side, as well as strong privacy protections for our members.” In the larger scheme of things, such a move would be timely for Netflix. As the streaming goliath continues to face issues with a shrinking subscriber base, this could be the case. All in all, this could put both NFLX stock and MSFT stock on investors’ radars ahead of today’s opening bell.
Novavax Receives FDA Authorization For Covid Vaccine Use In Adults Ages 18 And Above
On the health care front, Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) is making a splash on the regulatory side of things. Notably, the company’s two-dose coronavirus vaccine now has emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This would make it the first new shot to receive this regulatory green light in over a year. As it stands, the current approval is for use in adults ages 18 and over. Accordingly, this update comes just weeks after the FDA’s committee of independent experts unanimously recommended Novavax’s vaccine. Following this, Novavax will now need one last approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With this in hand, pharmacies and general health care providers can begin the distribution of Novavax’s shot.
Elaborating on the importance of this regulatory update is Novavax CEO Stanley Erck. He begins by stating, “Today’s FDA emergency use authorization of our COVID-19 vaccine provides the U.S. with access to the first protein-based COVID-19 vaccine.” Erck adds, “This authorization reflects the strength of our COVID-19 vaccine’s efficacy and safety data, and it underscores the critical need to offer another vaccine option for the U.S. population while the pandemic continues.” Simply put, Novavax’s vaccine development tech is among the more conventional means of making vaccines. The likes of which have been and still are in use for creating shots catering to hepatitis B and HPV.
As U.S. officials push for another round of booster doses, Novavax’s offerings could appeal to individuals that remain doubtful about the latest mRNA shots from Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA). After considering all this, NVAX stock could be worth keeping an eye on right now.
Warren Buffett Ups Stake In Occidental Petroleum To Almost 20% Following Latest Investments
In other news, Warren Buffett remains steadfast on his mission to bet on Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY). Evidently, according to the latest SEC filing, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) has bought another 4.3 million shares of Occidental this week. In detail, this was done via several transactions. Also in the filing, Berkshire’s purchase price for the shares ranges from between $56.11 to $59.93. Through its latest round of investments in OXY stock, Berkshire now owns 179.4 million shares.
For a sense of scale, they are worth about $10.4 billion, bringing Buffett’s stake up to a whopping 19.2%. Not to mention, Buffett’s firm also owns nearly $10 billion in Occidental preferred stock and has warrants to add another 83.9 million shares. Notably, OXY stock is now up by over 80% year-to-date, outpacing the broader stock market substantially. As a result, it could once again be in focus amongst its energy industry peers in the stock market today.
Tesla’s Head Of AI And Autopilot Andrej Karpathy Departs Following Sabbatical
Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) head of artificial intelligence (AI) Andrej Karpathy is officially leaving the company. On the whole, this information comes directly from Karpathy via a statement yesterday. Karpathy writes, “It’s been a great pleasure to help Tesla towards its goals over the last 5 years and a difficult decision to part ways.” This would be a sizable change for Tesla as Andrej is also among the pioneering leads for Tesla’s Autopilot Vision department.
He also speaks on this via a Twitter post saying, “In that time, Autopilot graduated from lane keeping to city streets and I look forward to seeing the exceptionally strong Autopilot team continue that momentum.” Also, this news follows the revelation of 229 layoffs within Tesla’s autopilot division after the closing of the company’s San Mateo office. Whether this could translate to further turbulence ahead for TSLA stock remains to be seen.