Please find this week’s edition of Weekly Digest attached.
Today saw another positive announcement. Moderna reported interim results that surpassed those of the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine with a 94.5% efficacy based on 95 positive cases of confirmed Covid-19. This vaccine remains stable at -20 degrees Celsius for up to six months, making for easier distribution than the Pfizer vaccine which must be stored below -80 degrees Celsius. This news increases the chances of there being multiple vaccines available by the end of the year. This week, we expect the release of more data on the Pfizer vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine candidate enters phase three tests in the UK.
A chart from our morning Research Meeting comparing the impact, so far, of the different approaches to COVID employment approaches between the US (subsidised unemployment) and Europe (furloughs):
This weekend saw Dominic Cummings leave his role at No 10 Downing Street ahead of UK-EU Brexit negotiations this week. Reports suggest that last week’s talks went particularly badly, with the two sides still at odds over fishing rights and the so-called level playing field. With the end of the Transition Period fast approaching, the two sides are running out of time, with the Sunday Times reporting that both sides believe the deadline for a deal is Monday 23 November.
A more positive development for global trade over the weekend was the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world’s largest regional free-trade agreement, which covers fifteen nations including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 ASEAN countries. In total, it includes nearly a third of the global population and economic output, though India isn’t included following its withdrawal from the talks last year.
In the US, Trump has ruled out another lockdown even as President-elect Biden called for “urgent action … starting with an acknowledgement of how serious the current situation is”. Conversely, two of Biden’s advisers have stated that they oppose lockdowns, in spite of rising case growth across the country. Trump appears to be focusing on geopolitics for his final ten weeks in office, amid the abrupt dismissal of the US defence secretary and reports of new sanctions and restrictions on Iran and China.
This week, we will hear from a number of central bankers including the European Central Bank President Lagarde and the Bank of England Governor Bailey. Data highlights include the release of retail sales data for the US and UK and consumer confidence data for the UK and Europe. In terms of individual company reports, releases from Palo Alto Networks, Experian, EasyJet, Home Depot, Syncona and Halma are of particular interest to us.