Pfizer Vaccine, Disney Streaming, and Apple Chips on Cheddar


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From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, these are the top stories that moved markets and had investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs talking this week on Cheddar.


U.S. markets notched another winning week, propelled higher on Monday’s stunning news that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine trial is showing at least 90 percent efficacy in preventing infection. Pfizer, together with its partners at the German biotech firm BioNTech, are continuing Phase 3 trials, hoping for regulatory approval in the coming weeks. If that happens, it would be the biggest medical breakthrough in a century — a vaccine made from scratch in under a year — ready to be rolled out to millions of people via a complicated dance of shipping logistics, public-private cooperation, and, importantly, patience. Moderna, which is also at work on a vaccine using the same type of mRNA technology as Pfizer, is expected to release interim results from its trials in the coming days. And Eli Lilly was granted an FDA emergency use authorization for its antibody cocktail called bamlanivimab that has shown efficacy in treating patients with mild to moderate symptoms. The problem is that there’s not nearly enough of it to go around, as COVID cases surge nationwide ahead of the holidays


In case the message hasn’t been clear this year, for media companies, it’s all about the streaming. Disney reported earnings for its fiscal fourth-quarter that showed an 80 percent drop in operating income, resulting in its first annual loss in more than 40 years. And yet, the stock popped 5 percent. Why? Disney said it has more than 73 million subscribers on Disney+, more than its initial low-end estimate for the first five years. And it got there in less than one. Investors had largely baked in the idea that Disney would report another big loss given that its theme park and cruise divisions have been decimated by the pandemic. But the overall results weren’t as bad as expected and, combined with the gangbuster streaming subs, have analysts feeling good about the stock long term — especially once the pandemic ends, and parks, ships, and theaters presumably fill back up.