Wall Street joins slump…EU’s fifth vaccine…Oracle-Cerner
NEW YORK (AP) – Wall Street is joining a worldwide slump for financial markets amid worries about how badly the omicron variant, inflation and other forces will hit the economy. The S&P 500 was 1.3% lower in early trading, following up on similar drops across Europe and Asia. Stocks of oil producers had the sharpest losses after the price of U.S. crude fell 5%. Markets are also absorbing the potential death blow to a proposed $2 billion spending plan by the U.S. government, as well as the Federal Reserve’s momentous move last week to accelerate its exit from the tremendous support it’s providing the economy.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – The European Union’s drugs regulator has given the green light to a fifth COVID-19 vaccine for use in the 27-nation bloc, granting conditional marketing authorization to the two-dose vaccine made by U.S. biotech company Novavax. The European Medicines Agency decision to recommend granting conditional marketing authorization for the vaccine for people aged 18 and over must be confirmed by the EU’s executive commission. It comes as many European nations are battling surges in infections and amid concerns about the spread of the new omicron variant. Novavax says it currently is testing how its shots will hold up against the omicron variant.
UNDATED (AP) – Biogen is slashing the price of its Alzheimer’s treatment months after the drug debuted to widespread criticism for an initial cost that can reach $56,000 annually. The drugmaker said Monday that starting in January it will cut the wholesale acquisition cost of the drug by about 50%. That means the annual cost for a person of average weight will amount to $28,200. Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos said in a statement that too many patients were not being offered the drug due to “financial considerations,” and their disease had progressed beyond the point where Aduhelm could help.
UNDATED (AP) – Oracle is buying electronic medical records company Cerner in an all-cash deal valued at about $28.3 billion. Oracle will pay $95 per Cerner share. Hospitals and physicians offices use Cerner software to record and share health and medical data. The companies said Monday that Cerner systems will become a unit of Oracle. Shares of Oracle are down more than 3% in morning trading.
GENEVA (AP) – The World Economic Forum is again delaying its much-ballyhooed annual meeting of world leaders, business executives and other elites in Davos, Switzerland, amid new uncertainties about the omicron variant of the coronavirus. The forum, which repeatedly delayed, moved and finally canceled last year’s event, says the previously planned Jan. 17-21 gathering in the alpine town will now take place in “early summer” – without giving specifics.