We hope you are all taking good care of yourselves and staying healthy.
Congress is back in session and are in talks to pass legislation for a new coronavirus relief bill with the current federal unemployment insurance benefit expiring at the end of July. Lawmakers acknowledge that they will likely miss the July deadline, and believe that the bill will most likely pass in August as they seek to find an agreement on what the new relief package will contain.
The race to develop a vaccine is in full swing, as three competing laboratories released promising results from early trials in humans. The Pfizer and BioNTech partnership is using the same kind of specially engineered genetic material, mRNA, as the Moderna vaccine, showing their trial with 60 participants appearing to be able to produce a strong immune response. Oxford University partnered with AstraZeneca and were the first to enter Phase III trials. CanSino Biologics vaccine tested about 500 participants and appeared least likely to be effective, based on the early results so far. With that being said, the vaccines will have to prove they can protect against the virus and establish how much immunity they provide – for how long.
On Wednesday, the Dow was pushed higher due to the announcement that the U.S. Government agreed to pay Pfizer and BioNTech $1.95 billion for 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine if it proves safe and effective. In tech, Microsoft (MSFT) released their Q4 results and surprised estimates with 13% revenue increase. It has proven to be a strong performing stock with notable gains during the pandemic. Tesla’s (TSLA) second quarter results beat Wall Street’s expectations, while also reporting a fourth straight quarter of profits. This means that they can now be considered for inclusion in the S&P 500 index.
In other news, the Banking Committee approved nominees, Judy Shelton and Christopher J. Waller, to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on Tuesday. Their nominations now head to the Senate for voting, and if confirmed, they will fill two vacancies on the board.
As a reminder, we are hosting Part 3: Growing Our Wealth webinar next Wednesday, July 29th. Click on the session of your choice to register if you would like to attend.