The buzz surrounding the potential for the antiviral drug from Merck & Co.
and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics is hot enough that already there’s political debate for who is to blame for the medication not being available sooner.
That buzz, however, is notably absent in the world’s financial markets. Granted, the Phase III trial showing molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50% for patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 has boosted the stock of Merck by as much as 11%, but the broader market reaction hasn’t been great.
Two plays on reopening — the Invesco Dynamic Leisure and Entertainment
and the U.S. Global Jets
exchange-traded funds — each saw one-day bounces before drifting, with the airlines ETF now lower since the news. Likewise, the Nasdaq Composite
which has benefited from the stay-at-home trend, also has more or less stayed in place.
Analysts at Man Group, the U.K. hedge-fund operator, noted licensing agreements with Indian generic drugmakers for molnupiravir are already in place, and that other pharmaceuticals are working on their own oral treatments.
“In our view, this development has great potential to fully reopen the global economy. At $700 per course, it is not cheap, but is far cheaper than the cost of hospital treatment. Likewise, because it specifically targets those patients who are most at risk, the drug is likely to lessen the political cost of reopening, leaving the level of infections unchanged but massively reducing hospitalizations and deaths,” said James Terrar and Ed Cole in a note.
is worth as much as 11 other auto makers including General Motors
combined. (Chrysler owner Stellantis
left off the list to make the numbers work, is worth $61 billion.) Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded to the tweet with a winking face and tongue emoji.
Consumer price data for September is due for release, with minutes from the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting due at 2 p.m.
rose in Frankfurt trade after the software giant boosted its full-year outlook.
U.S. stock futures
As Blue Origin prepares to launch “Star Trek” actor William Shatner into space, the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post reports on the alleged dysfunctional “bro culture” at the Bezos-owned space company.
Speaking of space, a strange radio signal is baffling astronomers.
Listen to the Best New Ideas in Money podcast.
Need to Know starts early and is updated until the opening bell, but sign up here to get it delivered once to your email box. The emailed version will be sent out at about 7:30 a.m. Eastern.
Want more for the day ahead? Sign up for The Barron’s Daily, a morning briefing for investors, including exclusive commentary from Barron’s and MarketWatch writers.