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Vaccine mandate surge

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he is hopeful full approval of COVID-19 vaccines by the Food and Drug Administration will come in August and also expects that to spur a large number of vaccine mandates by private companies and institutions.

"No one wants to get ahead of the FDA because they're an independent group that makes their decisions and that's good in many respects because there will never be any concerns that we are influencing them, but I hope, I don't predict, but I hope that it will be within the next few weeks," Fauci said on NBC'S "Meet the Press." "I hope that it's within the month of August."

That, in turn, could lead to "a flood" of mandates for vaccines, although not at the federal level, he told USA Today's editorial board in a wide-ranging interview. "Organizations, enterprises, universities, colleges that have been reluctant to mandate at the local level will feel much more confident," Fauci said.

"They can say: 'If you want to come to this college or university, you've got to get vaccinated. If you want to work in this plant, you have to get vaccinated. If you want to work in this enterprise, you've got to get vaccinated. If you want to work in this hospital, you've got to get vaccinated.'"

Fauci adds he does not expect the economy to go into lockdown again. National Institute of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said on ABC's "This Week" he supported businesses deciding to mandate for vaccines, saying "we ought to use every public health tool that we can when people are dying."

“Unless we vaccinate everyone in 200 plus countries, there will still be new variants,” epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant told CNBC Asia, who predicts COVID could become a "forever virus" like the flu.

What this could mean for stocks: So far, public companies have been proactive with mask mandates in high-infection areas and some companies, like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), are requiring employees to be vaccinated. Norwegian Cruise Line (NYSE:NCLH) said on Sunday that a judge had temporarily halted a Florida law prohibiting the requirement to show proof of vaccination, paving the way for the company to ask for proof from its travelers.

These moves have been well received by Wall Street, overall, with the S&P and Dow moving back into record territory amid the announcements. Wells Fargo cites the high U.S. vaccination rate as a chief reason that the economy will not face the disruptions it did during the initial outbreak.

"The bottom line is we do not expect the Delta variant to create meaningful headwinds for the economy as was the case in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic," strategist Scott Wren wrote in a note, but UBS highlights the risk of more mutations.

"While economic fundamentals remain incredibly positive in most major markets, this will only remain the case so long as populations worldwide reach herd immunity levels before mutations such as the Delta variant compromise the protection offered by current vaccines," it said. (4 comments)

Connected TV

Viewer trends are slowly starting to level off in streaming after a disruptive year in the COVID-19 pandemic and one trend looks to be holding true: the resumption of a secular decline in broadcast and cable viewing, but that is leaving room for ongoing healthy growth in connected devices. A State of Viewership report from Samba TV indicates the top two platforms in terms of total impressions are Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Roku impressions are up 27% from Q1, and Amazon up 49%. Comparing them to Q4 2020, Roku is up 118% and Amazon up 204%. Contrast that with cable (down 25% from a year ago) and broadcast television (down 19% over that span). Those drops were more muted vs. 2019 for cable (cable -7% vs. Q2 2019, broadcast -12%), suggesting that "cable networks are stabilizing to pre-pandemic levels more readily than broadcast after spikes during the height of the pandemic-related lockdowns." (34 comments)

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Soliton deal

AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) said that it's received a request for additional information from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in regard to its planned acquisition of Soliton (NASDAQ:SOLY).

AbbVie and Soliton received a so-called "second request" from the antitrust agency on Friday, according to an 8-K filing.

The effect of the second request is to extend the waiting period imposed by the HSR Act until 30 days after the company and AbbVie have certified substantial compliance with the second request, unless that period is extended voluntarily by the parties or terminated sooner by the FTC. (1 comment)

Tesla Cybertruck

The first deliveries of Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) Cybertruck electric pickup are not anticipated until next year. As spotted by Electrek, Tesla updated the footnotes on its order page to indicate that the Cybertruck configurator will be available when production nears in 2022.

At the beginning of the year, Elon Musk lowered expectations by saying that the company expected a few deliveries of the Cybertruck toward the end of this year, but "volume production" to be in 2022.

The Cybertruck seems to have a larger role in the bull vs. bear debate on TSLA than might be expected with Model 3 and Model Y production ramping up. (141 comments)

Alibaba culture

Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) has fired a manager who allegedly sexually assaulted a female employee, Reuters reports.

Also, the Chinese e-commerce giant has suspended several staff after an employee’s account of her ordeal went viral on social media and exposed “problems" with the culture at China’s e-commerce leader.

Over the weekend, a female staffer posted an 11-page account on Alibaba's intranet in which she said her supervisor and a client sexually assaulted her while on a business trip, and that managers had failed to take action. (5 comments)

Taper talk

With fears that the spreading COVID-19 Delta variant would slow the economic recovery, it appeared the "reflation trade" narrative was unwinding after an April peak. But then the July's nonfarm payrolls report came in hotter than expected, adding 943K jobs vs. 900K consensus. That implies that the economy may be strong, for the Federal Reserve, enough to start tapering its assets purchases sooner rather than later.

In other words, it suggests that the Fed's goals of "substantial further progress" have been notably accelerated, and as a result, investors dived out of the long bond (NASDAQ:TLT) (-1.5%), while the 10-year UST yield climbed 6% to 130 basis points; Financials (NYSEARCA:XLF) (+1.9%), Bitcoin (BTC-USD) (+2.3%), and some agricultural commodities traded higher on Friday.

The unemployment rate of 5.4% also beat the 5.7% estimate and fell from 5.9% in June, however, "we're still down over 8M jobs from where we could have been absent the pandemic," Nick Bunker, an economist at job-posting site Indeed, said in a tweet. (22 comments)

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +0.33%. Hong Kong +0.27%. China +1.05%. India -0.07%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.22%. Paris +0.02%. Frankfurt -0.13%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow -0.8%. S&P -0.18%. Nasdaq +0.01%. Crude -3.8% to $65.55. Gold -0.83% at $1748.50. Bitcoin -1.4% at $43,777.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -1 bps to 1.288%

Today's Economic Calendar

10:00 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey
10:10 Fed's Bostic: "Building an Inclusive Economy"
11:30 Fed's Barkin Speech
12:30 PM Investor Movement Index

Companies reporting earnings today »

What else is happening...

TikTok owner ByteDance (BDNCEis said to target IPO in Hong Kong early next year.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) vaccine booster shot has similar side effects to 2nd dose: Israeli survey.

Morgan Stanley swaps Energy (NYSEARCA:XLE) for Utilities (NYSEARCA:XLU): Sector Watch.

FDA decision on Eton's (NASDAQ:ETON) topiramate delayed to November.

Sanderson Farms (NASDAQ:SAFMis said near $4.5B sale to Cargill, Continental Grain.

Philip Morris (NYSE:PMraises bid for U.K.'s Vectura to about $1.4B.

Known to most as Uranium Pinto Beans, Jason has more than 15 years under his belt of trading stocks, options and currencies. His expertise primarily lies in chart analysis, and he has a strong eye for undervalued stock. Because he’s got the ability to identify great risk/reward trades he usually enjoys taking the path less traveled and reaping the benefits from the adventure.

He is a co-founder of Option Millionaires, and he is best known for his weekly webinars with Scott, as well as his high level training webinars and charts found in the forums.

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