1. AstraZeneca’s vaccine demonstrates up to 90% efficacy
Markets surged higher on Monday morning after AstraZeneca became the latest drug company to demonstrate positive data from the final stages of its vaccine trial. Its vaccine demonstrated 62% efficacy for one arm of the study that represented the bulk of trial participants, and up to 90% efficacy for a separate arm where participants received a half dose followed by a full dose. The results are promising as unlike Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, AstraZeneca’s vaccine does not require sub-zero storage temperatures, making it easier to distribute to more remote parts of the world.
2. Janet Yellen set to win EGOT of finance
Markets received another boost Monday afternoon as news leaked that Biden would be selecting former Fed chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury Secretary. The choice was well-received by markets, which saw Yellen as a sign that more accommodative fiscal policy would come on the horizon. If confirmed, Yellen would become the first woman to lead the Treasury as well as the first person ever to head the Fed, the Treasury, and the Council of Economic Advisers - an unparalleled achievement amounting to the financial equivalent of an EGOT.
3. Snapchat launches TikTok-like feature called Spotlight
Hot off the heels of its quiet acquisition of TikTok-like music app Voisey, Snapchat has launched a new feature called Spotlight that closely resembles TikTok’s video feed. To kickstart adoption, Snapchat is planning on paying more than $1 million every day to creators who create the top-performing videos on Spotlight. We’re positive on this move and would note that Snapchat appears to be taking an even more curated approach to short-form video than TikTok. By eschewing public displays of likes and comments and requiring human moderation of all recommended content, we believe Snapchat is potentially already cementing its place as a uniquely safe venue for brand partners and its predominantly gen Z audience.