It’s all happening at
The tech giant issued an emergency update on Monday to fix a so-called “zero-click” security flaw. Researchers discovered the flaw that allowed hackers to access devices through iMessage without any user action.
That follows a federal judge ordering Apple to loosen its restrictions on how developers can seek in-app payments from consumers, following a case brought by Epic Games. On Tuesday, the technology behemoth is poised to launch new iPhones and new generations of the Apple Watch and AirPods.
Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects four new phones, possibly with satellite capabilities for connectivity in areas without coverage. The TFI Asset Management analyst thinks the prices could go up given higher storage capacity, and also expects the Apple Watch 7 and AirPods 3 to be launched.
It isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but that doesn’t matter. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives forecasts the iPhone upgrade supercycle continuing well into 2022, estimating that 250 million of 975 million iPhone users have not upgraded in more than three-and-a-half years. That pent-up demand and the world’s 5G transformation should see Apple’s market cap reach $3 trillion in the next 6-12 months, he said.
Will the Apple news move the market? The trend from recent events has been that it hasn’t, at least not initially. The stock slumped 2.7% after the iPhone 12 was launched and only rose back above its prelaunch level two months later. Apple’s spring product launch in April saw a similar pattern as shares fell 1.3% on the day.
*** Join Eric Savitz, associate editor for technology at Barron’s, today at noon for a conversation with Gene Munster, managing partner and co-founder of Loup Ventures, on the outlook for Apple and other leading tech companies. Sign up here.
Shares of Vaccine Makers Tumble After Study Questioning Covid-19 Boosters
- The authors, who include Marion Gruber and Philip Krause from the Food and Drug Administration, said no vaccine studies show “credible evidence” that protection against severe disease declines, and said unvaccinated people are still the major drivers of Covid-19 transmission.
- Gruber, director of the FDA’s Office of Vaccines Research & Review, and Krause, its deputy director, are leaving the agency by November, in part because of the Biden administration’s plans to offer booster doses to adults eight months after their second shot, pending FDA approval.
- The World Health Organization’s Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week asked rich countries to postpone widespread distribution of booster shots until 2022. Israel, which started offering boosters to its residents last month, is already stockpiling vaccines for a fourth dose.
- More than 1.78 million Americans have received a booster shot of vaccine since the U.S. approved them on Aug. 13 for people with compromised immune systems.
What’s Next: The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on Friday to consider if the FDA should authorize booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine.
—Janet H. Cho
House Democrats Unveil Tax Increases That Will Pay for $3.5 Trillion Bill
House Democrats plan to pay for President Joe Biden’s 10-year, $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package entirely by raising taxes on big corporations and the wealthiest Americans, including hiking the corporate tax rate to 26.5% from the current 21%, and a 3-percentage-point surtax on households earning $5 million.
- The House Ways and Means Committee on Monday outlined the proposed tax increases: a 16.5% minimum tax on U.S. companies’ foreign income, up from 10.5% now; a top individual tax rate of 39.6% from 37%; and a top capital-gains tax rate of 28.8% from 23.8%.
- Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D., Mass.) on Monday said the plan expands child care, preschool, healthcare, college education, Medicare coverage and climate change policies. The tax hikes don’t affect people making less than $400,000.
- Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) who wants a smaller bill with a 25% corporate tax rate, said Sunday he couldn’t support $3.5 trillion. He wants the House to first pass the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill already approved by the Senate.
- But progressive Democrats including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) who originally wanted a $6 trillion social safety net plan, say that the infrastructure bill must be approved alongside the $3.5 trillion spending plan.
What’s Next: House Democrats plan to vote on the proposals in committee this week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), who has set a Sept. 27 timeline for voting on the $1 trillion infrastructure plan, is aiming for a House vote by Oct. 1.
—Janet H. Cho
Elon Musk’s SpaceX Prepares Launch of Four Civilians in Rocket
founder Elon Musk gets his chance at the space history books this week as his SpaceX prepares to send four civilians to the final frontier, where they will remain in orbit for several days before returning to Earth.
The flight is considered more technically difficult than the brief encounters at zero gravity for passengers who flew aboard spacecraft of fellow billionaires Jeff Bezos, founder of
and Blue Origin, and Richard Branson, founder of
- The flight will use SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and its Crew Dragon capsule, which is the same equipment that will be used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for astronaut missions.
- Inspiration4 crew members are scheduled to fly as early as Wednesday, traveling almost 360 miles from Earth and orbiting for at least three days before splashing back down off the coast of Florida, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- Last year, SpaceX sent two U.S. astronauts into orbit to dock at the International Space Station, the first launch from the U.S. with humans in nearly a decade.
What’s Next: SpaceX is part of a growing private space business that has attracted billions of dollars in investments in recent years. SpaceX also is developing a satellite-based broadband internet service and building a moon lander for NASA.
Lady Gaga’s Music Label, Universal, Publishes $39 Billion IPO Details
French media group
will spin off and list Universal Music Group, the label behind Taylor Swift and the Rolling Stones, next week, aiming for an estimated equity value of €33 billion ($39 billion) from the initial public offering.
- The group had said before that it would spin off 60% of the shares in Universal to its own shareholders, who include Vivendi’s controlling billionaire Vincent Bolloré. The shares will start trading on Euronext Amsterdam on Sept. 21, Vivendi said in its prospectus.
Vivendi last month sold a total of 10% of Universal to billionaire Bill Ackman’s
Pershing Square Holdings,
based on a company valuation of €35 billion.
Chinese internet conglomerate
earlier this year took its stake in the music company to 20%.
- The listing will add to a long list of IPOs that could make 2021 the biggest ever year in terms of proceeds, according to some estimates.
What’s Next: The French group takes advantage of Universal’s booming sales and hefty profits, riding on the wave of streaming music and revenues from catalogs, but also on a pick up in the sales of once-unfashionable CDs and vinyl records.
Reddit Forum Has New Focus in Uranium Stocks
Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum has a new target: uranium miners, with stocks of companies in Australia, U.K. and the U.S. surging on Monday.
has become the third-most-discussed company on WallStreetBets, after tech giants Apple and
Alibaba Group Holding,
according to SwaggyStocks, a website that tracks mentions of ticker symbols on the forum, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Recent posts on the message board, in which
has been a favorite in the meme-stock frenzy this year, have made bullish arguments in favor of uranium prices and mining stocks, according to the Journal.
- Sprott Physical Uranium Trust, a new fund that holds physical uranium, has also driven the rally in prices, with huge purchases of the metal.
London-listed miner Aura Energy, and Cameco all moved higher.
What’s Next: Investors are betting uranium prices will continue to rise with renewed interest in nuclear power, a less carbon-intensive source of energy.
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—Newsletter edited by Matt Bemer, Mary Romano, Camilla Imperiali, Steve Goldstein, Rupert Steiner, Joe Woelfel