Stocks mixed…US bans WeChat, TikTok from app stores
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are drifting in morning trading on Wall Street, as another zig-zag week for markets closes out following their abrupt loss of momentum this month. The S&P 500 was down 0.1% in morning trading after giving up a small gain in the first few minutes of trading. It’s still on pace for a gain of 0.4% this week after a two-day slump followed up on a two-day gain. Analysts have warned that today could be even bumpier than usual. Futures and options on stocks and indexes are set to expire in an event known as “quadruple witching,” which can drive swings in prices.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Commerce Department says it is prohibiting Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat from app stores as of Sunday, citing national security and data privacy concerns. Google and Apple, the owners of the major mobile app stores, and WeChat owner Tencent did not immediately reply to questions. Oracle, which had proposed a deal with TikTok, also did not reply. TikTok says it’s disappointed. It’s not clear what will happen to WeChat, which has millions of U.S. users. A further ban on the much more popular TikTok goes into effect on Nov. 12 – shortly after the U.S. election.
UNDATED (AP) – A drug company says that a medicine it sells to tamp down inflammation has helped prevent the need for breathing machines in hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the first large study that primarily enrolled Hispanics and Blacks. Switzerland-based Roche reported the results Friday for the drug, which is used now to treat rheumatoid arthritis and some other diseases. The results have not yet been published or reviewed by independent scientists. The study included nearly 400 patients from the U.S., South America and Africa. Hispanics and Blacks have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic.
UNDATED (AP) – The EU Commission has finalized a deal with Sanofi and GSK allowing its 27 member states to buy up to 300 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. It’s the second contract signed by the bloc’s executive arm after a first agreement was reached last month with AstraZeneca for up to 400 million doses. The Commission says some of the reserved shots could be donated to “lower- and middle-income countries.”
LONDON (AP) – The European Medicines Agency is recommending an inexpensive steroid be licensed for the treatment of people with severe coronavirus who need oxygen support. The EMA says it is endorsing the use of dexamethasone in adults and adolescents age 12 or older who need either supplemental oxygen or a ventilator to help them breathe. The drug can be taken orally or via an infusion. In June, British researchers published research showing dexamethasone can reduce deaths by up to one third in patients hospitalized with severe coronavirus. Shortly afterward, the U.K. government immediately authorized its use in hospitals across the country for seriously ill coronavirus patients.