Juul E-cigarettes To Be Ordered Off U.S. Market: WSJ

Pfizer Halts Enrollment For Covid-19 Drug Paxlovid In Standard-risk Groups

Vaccine maker Pfizer Inc. (PFE) said that it was putting a stop to enrollment in a trial for its Covid-19 antiviral drug, Paxlovid, in standard-risk patients. The decision was taken after a study revealed the treatment was not effective in reducing symptoms in that group.

The drug has secured emergency use authorization for people in high-risk groups in which it was found to be effective in bringing down the rates of hospitalizations and deaths.

Latest data, however, revealed a 51 percent relative risk reduction in standard-risk groups, which the vaccine maker said was not statistically important. Included in the standard-risk population are people who do not have health conditions, which put them at risk of severe disease and who can recover without the drug.

Pfizer said that the new data would be included in its upcoming application to the US FDA asking for full approval for using the drug in high-risk groups.

Data from a study conducted in Israel in early June revealed that the brings down COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates in vaccinated and unvaccinated patients who are 65 years and older, but was not found to stop severe illness among younger adults.

More than 1.2 million courses of Paxlovid have been administered in the US, according to data from the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Gold Futures Settle Slightly Lower

Gold futures settled slightly lower on Wednesday, extending their decline to a third straight session. However, with the dollar drifting lower, gold’s downside was just marginal.

The dollar index, which dropped to 103.86, recovered to 104.10, trimming its loss to just around 0.32%.

Gold futures for August ended lower by $0.40 at $1,838.40 an ounce, off the day’s low of $1,824.50 an ounce.

Silver futures for July ended down by $0.347 at $21.421 an ounce, while Copper futures for July settled at $3.9440 per pound, down $0.0950 from the previous close.

Investors digested Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony before the Senate Banking Committee. In prepared remarks, Powell indicated the Fed plans to continue moving expeditiously to combat inflation but argued the U.S. economy is strong enough to handle tighter monetary policy.

However, Powell later acknowledged that achieving a “soft landing” will be “very challenging” due in part to factors outside of the Fed’s control and noted a recession is “certainly a possibility.”

Powell said the pace of future interest rate hikes will be dependent on incoming data and the evolving outlook for the economy and suggested the Fed will need to see “compelling evidence” that inflation is slowing before it begins to scale back its monetary policy tightening plans.

The Fed Chief said the central bank will strive to “avoid adding uncertainty in what is already an extraordinarily challenging and uncertain time.”

Mortgage rates are soaring. Here's what that means for home buyers

New York (CNN Business)JPMorgan Chase is laying off employees this week in response to the spike in mortgage rates that has rocked the housing market.

“Our staffing decision this week was a result of cyclical changes in the mortgage market,” JPMorgan said in a statement.
Hundreds of JPMorgan (JPM) employees will be laid off, while hundreds of others will be reassigned, a person familiar with the matter told CNN Business.

    News of the layoffs was first reported by Bloomberg News.

      “We were able to proactively move many impacted employees to new roles within the firm and are working to help the remaining affected employees find new employment within Chase and externally,” JPMorgan said in the statement.

      The layoffs underscore the wide-reaching impact of the Federal Reserve’s shift to inflation-fighting mode.
      Mortgage rates are rising at the fastest pace since 1987 as the Fed moves aggressively to tame inflation.

          Not only is that hurting demand for new mortgages, but it’s hitting the lucrative refinancing business, too.
          “Refinance is dramatically decreasing. There is not the capacity to support the staffing model, unfortunately,” the person familiar with the matter said.

          Twenty-Year Bond Auction Attracts Above Average Demand

          The Treasury Department announced the results of this month’s auction of $14 billion worth of twenty-year bonds on Wednesday, revealing the sale attracted above average demand.

          The twenty-year bond auction drew a high yield of 3.488 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.60.

          Last month, the Treasury sold $17 billion worth of twenty-year bonds, drawing a high yield of 3.290 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.50.

          The bid-to-cover ratio is a measure of demand that indicates the amount of bids for each dollar worth of securities being sold.

          The ten previous twenty-year bond auctions had an average bid-to-cover ratio of 2.49.

          On Thursday, the Treasury is due to announce the details of this month’s auctions of two-year, five-year and seven-year notes.

          Juul E-cigarettes To Be Ordered Off U.S. Market: WSJ

          The Food and Drug Administration is reportedly planning to order Juul Labs Inc. to take off its e-cigarettes from the U.S. market.

          According to Wall Street Journal, the FDA could announce its decision as early as Wednesday. The marketing denial order would be based on a nearly two-year review of data presented by the vaping company. The company was seeking approval to keep selling its tobacco- and menthol-flavored products in the U.S. market.

          The FDA’s review of the applications was based on whether the e-cigarettes are effective in getting smokers to quit and whether it benefits outweigh the health damage to new users, including teenagers.

          Earlier, the FDA had approved tobacco-flavored e-cigs from Juul rivals Reynolds American and NJOY Holdings. Juul will be able to appeal the ruling to both the FDA and the court system.

          Juul was among the first e-cigarette companies to come under fire. Regulators and health officials had blamed the company for increase of underage vaping, due to its advertising and sweet/fruity flavors.

          In October 2019, due to the mounting pressure, Juul announced that it would discontinue its mango, creme, fruit and cucumber flavors that were sold through its online store. In November 2019, Juul announced they would discontinue selling mint flavored pods in the US.