Peloton produces profit for the first time amid pandemic-demand spike, stock pushes toward new record


Peloton Interactive Inc. reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings Thursday afternoon.


MarketWatch photo illustration/iStockphoto

A year after its initial public offering, Peloton Interactive Inc. is pedaling toward new highs amid a pandemic that is forcing people into their homes and away from gyms, creating demand for at-home fitness equipment.

Peloton
PTON,
-3.75%

on Thursday wrapped up its fiscal year by reporting that sales and subscribers roughly doubled in the 12-month period, and revealed its first profitable quarter as a public company and record quarterly revenue a little less than a year after its September 2019 IPO. Shares fell 3.8% Thursday from Wednesday’s record closing price of $91.17 — more than three times the IPO price of $29 a share — but pushed back toward record highs in after-hours trading following the release of the report, with gains of more than 7%.

Peloton reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $89.1 million, or 27 cents a share, on sales of $607.1 million, up from $223 million a year ago. Peloton reported a net loss of $47 million in the fiscal fourth quarter a year ago, just ahead of its IPO. Analysts on average expected earnings of 10 cents a share on sales of $586 million, according to FactSet.

“It has been another staggering year of growth, and I know all parts of the organization have had to work together to do everything possible to meet the incredible demand for our products and services,” Chief Executive James Foley said in a conference call Thursday. “The strong tailwind we experienced in March as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold has continued to propel demand for our products into the fourth quarter and first couple of months of Q1 fiscal year 2021.”

While still attempting to catch up to a flood of orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic — Peloton said Thursday it does not expect order-to-delivery times to normalize until around the end of the calendar year — the company is also looking to expand its customer base. On Monday, Peloton announced that it will reduce the price of its standard exercise bike and introduce a lower-priced treadmill, which could clear a path for potential buyers who were not willing to pay the large upfront costs for its products. It will also introduce a premium bike for fans who want top-of-the-line equipment.

Wedbush analysts noted that in a previous survey of 1,200 people, they found that Peloton could “dramatically improve” sales at a lower price point, especially in treadmills.

“42% of non-Peloton owners that were interested in fitness and familiar with the brand showed some level of interest in a $2,500 Tread, compared to just 30% showing interest in the current Tread,” the analysts wrote in a Sept. 9 note, after Peloton announced its new lineup. “Among existing Peloton bike owners, the number of respondents saying they would be ‘very interested’ in owning a treadmill from Peloton doubles based on the lower price, from 14% based on the $4,295 price point to 28% assuming a theoretical (at the time) $2,500 price point.”

While lower sales prices could hurt hardware margins and average selling prices, much of Peloton’s long-term prognosis focuses on the subscriptions for interactive workout media that owners continue to pay after they have received the equipment. Peloton announced Thursday that it now has 1.09 million subscribers, nearly doubling the 511 million that it reported at the end of its last fiscal year, topping its forecast of 1.04 million to 1.05 million.

In total for the fiscal year, Peloton collected revenue of $1.46 billion from the sale of equipment and $363.7 million from subscription services, up from $719 million and $181 million, respectively, in the previous fiscal year. Combined with other revenue from merchandise and other offerings, Peloton ended the year with $1.83 billion in sales, up from $915 million.

“By the end of FY 2020 our Peloton membership base grew to approximately 3.1 million, compared to 1.4 million members in the prior year,” Peloton detailed in a letter to shareholders Thursday. “Fueled in part by the challenges associated with COVID-19, member engagement reached new highs with 164 million Connected Fitness Subscription workouts completed in FY 2020.”

For the current fiscal year, which began in August, Peloton predicted htat subscribers and revenue would roughly double yet again. The company guided for revenue of $3.5 billion to $3.65 billion, with connected subscribers swelling to 2.05 million to 2.1 million. Analysts on average were predicting revenue of $2.74 billion and subscribers of 1.78 million ahead of the report, according to FactSet.

Peloton stock has gained more than 260% since its IPO; the S&P 500 index
SPX,
-1.75%

has returned 17.7% in that time. In after-hours trading Thursday, shares topped $94 following the release of the report.



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Tents fit for a wedding reception and artfully constructed wooden bandstands: Welcome to outdoor classrooms during a pandemic — and now for the bad news


It didn’t take a pandemic for Sharon Danks to recognize the benefits of outdoor learning.

In fact, she started researching the environmental, physical and mental-health benefits of outdoor learning more than two decades before founding the nonprofit Green Schoolyards America seven years ago.

Before the pandemic, Danks partnered primarily with individual schools in districts near Berkeley, Calif., where the organization is based.

The pandemic, she said, has only strengthened the case for outdoor learning nationwide, especially given the amount of scientific research suggesting that the outdoors is less hospitable to the coronavirus than indoors where air circulation is significantly more limited.

See:Two teachers face a difficult choice: One welcomes ‘normalcy,’ while another feels ‘rage,’ and COVID-19 has radically altered feelings about school for both

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that schools “consider using outdoor space, weather-permitting, to enable social distancing.” The agency specifically recommends having lunch outside in place of in a communal cafeteria or otherwise eating within classrooms.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has also urged schools to find ways to offer as many outdoor activities as possible. “Get as much outdoors as you can,” he said in a Facebook
FB,
-0.06%

live event in August. “If you look at the superspreader events that have occurred, they’re almost always inside.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics echoes Fauci’s views also urging schools to “utilize outdoor spaces when possible.”

Some schools have even built wood bandstand-like structures in the grounds to provide children with outdoor spaces.

Weather permitting, others have opted for tents that look more like they’re going to welcome wedding guests instead of children and teachers. Another school simply uses a circle of tree stumps.

“Nature is something that has been proven to decrease stress levels, and, during this pandemic, there has so much stress and trauma,” Danks said. What’s more, not all school buildings have enough space for children to maintain the recommended six feet of social distance.

“Outside not only do you have air that isn’t recirculating, but kids don’t have to stay in assigned seats all day and can actually move around,” she said.

Many schools recognized that back in March when they shifted to virtual instruction and reached out to Danks inquiring about how they, too, could create outdoor learning environments in preparation for the fall.

The overwhelming amount of inquiries she received led her to partner with three other nonprofits to form a National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative that provides schools with templates for how to construct an outdoor classroom, lesson plans and other tools with the support of more than 400 landscaping, design and educational volunteers.

One problem she noticed: “The bigger the institution, the longer it takes to change direction. Smaller schools such as single-district public schools and independent nonprofit private schools are doing this much more quickly because they don’t need to ask for permission.”

Not all schools have parent-teacher associations

But school size isn’t the only thing holding back schools from building outdoor classrooms in parts of the country where in-person learning is allowed to take place.

For children with special needs, for example, an outdoor learning environment poses a slew of problems, said Mindy Rosier-Rayburn, an elementary special-education science teacher at the Mickey Mantle School in New York City.

As of Friday nearly 800 schools in the city were approved to offer outdoor learning.

The New York City Department of Education did not respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment regarding efforts to level the playing field for lower-income schools that would like to offer outdoor learning, but can’t because they lack the funds to do so.

When Mayor Bill de Blasio gave city public schools the go-ahead in late August to offer outdoor learning in streets and parks near schools, Rosier-Rayburn recognized that there would be a “glaring equity issue” for schools in higher-income neighborhoods versus lower-income ones like the school district she teaches at, in Harlem.

“The comments I heard early on were that PTAs can help pay for these things,” she said, “but my school doesn’t even have a PTA, and there are so many others that don’t.”

“We are a Title 1 school,” she said. This type of school typically has a high concentration of children from low-income families and receives federal grants. All students attending Mickey Mantle School qualify for free lunch, she said.

When Rosier-Rayburn started teaching science remotely in the spring, she said, “I didn’t even feel comfortable asking parents to get supplies to do science experiments. If the experiment involves something I think they had at home, I tried to do that.”

Even if Rosier-Rayburn’s school had access to funds to purchase tents and other outdoor items, it would be a nightmare for her and her fellow teachers.

“We have several children who are runners, and that terrifies us. In a building you can control the situation, but outside you can’t,” Rosier-Rayburn, who has been a special-education teacher for nearly 24 years, told MarketWatch.

“We’re always on guard — just like when people enter a room they look for the exit and nearest bathroom, we constantly have to think: What could a student possibly hurt themselves with? That’s why outside learning is the worst idea.”

Additionally, she said several autistic students “could have sensitivity to sounds like honking horns.” Another concern: Some children “tend to put everything in their mouths.”

Plans are still up in the air for the upcoming school year, which in New York City is slated to begin on Sept. 21 after the school date was pushed back when the United Federation Teachers, a labor union composed primarily of public school teachers, threatened to strike over safety concerns relating to in-person learning.

For all of the above reasons, Rosier-Rayburn said she’ll continue teaching remotely, since she has received a medical accommodation to do so.

(The UFT did not respond to MarketWatch’s request for a comment.)


Cara Sclafani, a parent of two children who attend P.S. 185, a New York City Title 1 public elementary school, also located in Harlem, has health-related reservations about even sending them back for partial in-person learning certain days each week during an ongoing public health crisis.

As co-chair of the District 3 Green Schools Group, a coalition of parent volunteers who represent Manhattan’s Upper West Side and parts of central Harlem, advocating for outdoor education, Sclafani has advocated outdoor learning as much as possible.

Over a year ago, she successfully received two grants from New York City nonprofits to transform a deserted lot on school grounds that was “pretty much overrun with weeds,” she said, into a school garden and outdoor learning area.

Pictured is one of the outdoor learning areas at P.S. 185 which was previously a vacant and overgrown lot.


Cara Sclafani

Last year, she said, it was always a challenge to get teachers to wander outside of the classroom, “even though we set up this nice area for them with a tree canopy, benches and a reading library.”


And now? “The teachers are going to bring their students outside at least once a day,” Sclafani told MarketWatch. “Whether it’s just to read a book, paint or have physical education outside.”

She considers these types of activities “easy wins” to accomplish. Ultimately, however, she and other members of D3GSG are working on a “long-term vision” of having a “full-blown outdoor learning program” by the spring of 2021.

Sclafani said she was directly inspired by a Green Schoolyards America workshop she attended in June about constructing an outdoor learning environment. The organization, she said, has helped redesign P.S. 185’s outdoor learning space. She is on the infrastructure team at Green Schoolyards and is helping advise other schools across the county.

”Having outdoor learning at P.S.185 is a key factor for my family in determining whether or not my kids will attend in-person learning. We don’t have the school schedule yet, but I am hopeful my kids will be getting outside for at least a couple hours every day.”




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My partner has earned millions of dollars during our relationship. We’re not married, but am I entitled to anything if we split?


Dear Moneyist,

My partner and I have been together for 5 years. We are not married. In that time he has been the primary and, often, the sole breadwinner.

When we met, he had several million dollars in investment accounts as well as earning a substantial salary ($400,000 to $800,000 a year depending on bonuses). In that time, he paid off previous debt that I had incurred. We have lived a good life with lots of travel, and many other luxuries.

At one point he was offered a job in Europe and I left my new job in the U.S. to join him, a decision that left me unable to earn an income and continue to depend on him for his money.

The Moneyist: ‘I’m astounded that I have NOT received my payment’: When will I receive my stimulus check?

We share a couple of joint bank accounts, but the vast majority of his money is in accounts in his name only. I have never thought that money should be under both of our names as that was money he had earned before we had even met.

In the time we’ve been together he has made $2 million to $3 million in income, and he has sold real estate that was owned before we met totaling $1 million. If we separated in the U.S., would I be entitled to anything from him?

John

Dear John,

The short answer is no.

Now for the long answer: Common-law marriage was an old English law, and today only exists in a handful of U.S. states as an elective option. That is, you legally declare yourselves common-law spouses. You are not considered married in the eyes of the court or the government just because you lived together for 5, 10 or even 20 years.

You willingly acknowledge that he was the main breadwinner, he paid off debt and, when he got a job overseas, you made the decision to give up your job in the U.S. and follow him, and allowed him to pay for your living expenses. These choices afforded you a certain lifestyle, and you did not have the career, or the savings, you would have had otherwise.

The Moneyist: My mother’s will says her boyfriend can live in her home after she dies. Can I still kick him out if the deed is transferred to me?

A few years ago, a couple split after 23 years together in Rhode Island. Angela wanted to the court to declare her union with Kevin a common-law marriage so she would inherit part of his home. In a Providence County Family Court judgment, the judge agreed based on evidence in letters and how they presented themselves to family and friends.

Despite being included in family portraits and Kevin’s sister even addressing them as Mr. and Mrs. in a Christmas card, and Kevin wearing a ring on his wedding finger, the Supreme Court of Rhode Island in 2018 overturned the lower court’s decision. Kevin did not consider them married, and nor did the Supreme Court, even though they were together for two decades.

The Moneyist:My husband and I are worth $3.7 million, but I’m afraid I’ll spend my way into the poor house if he dies. When I was single, I bounced checks. What can I do?

This is a good time to evaluate your relationship with yourself, and your priorities in life. What do you want to be remembered for? What do you enjoy doing? And could you turn that into a career? What contribution to society would you like to make? There are no certainties in life — as 2020 has shown. Your retirement, career and financial plans should ideally exist outside of your relationship.

You are not entitled to your boyfriend’s money, even though you share some of the same bank accounts. That’s a gift rather than an entitlement. You are entitled to a big, rewarding and unpredictable life where you are the driver of your own destiny. You are entitled to use your talents, interests and skills to help others. You can reclaim the word, and your career along with it.

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.com

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As schools reopen, scientists say some children could spread COVID-19 even if they already have the antibodies


As schools and colleges reopen across the country, scientists say social distancing remains a critical public-health response to COVID-19. New research released Thursday sheds more light on children who test positive for COVID-19, and the contagiousness of coronavirus. Children often remain asymptomatic or display very few symptoms, and the research also offers insights into the course of the disease at an important time for families and communities.

A study published in the latest edition of the Journal of Pediatrics finds that the virus and antibodies can coexist in young patients. “With most viruses, when you start to detect antibodies, you won’t detect the virus anymore. But with COVID-19, we’re seeing both,” says Burak Bahar, lead author of the study and director of Laboratory Informatics at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. “This means children still have the potential to transmit the virus even if antibodies are detected.”


‘Children still have the potential to transmit the virus even if antibodies are detected.’


— Burak Bahar, director of Laboratory Informatics at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.

The researchers reviewed an analysis of 6,369 children tested for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and 215 patients who underwent antibody testing at Children’s National between March 2020 and June 2020. Out of these 215 young patients, 33 tested positive for both the virus and antibodies during the course of the disease. Nine of those 33 also showed presence of antibodies in their blood while also later testing positive for the virus.

What’s more, researchers found that patients aged 6 years through 15 years old took a longer time (a median time of 32 days) to clear the virus, meaning that it had left their systems, versus patients aged 16 years through 22 years old (a median of 18 days). Females in the 6 to 15 age group also took longer to clear the virus than males: A median of 44 days for females versus 25.5 days for males. “We can’t let our guard down just because a child has antibodies or is no longer showing symptoms,” Bahar said.

The study also found that 25 days was the median time from viral positivity to negativity — the moment when the virus can no longer be detected; it took 18 days to go from viral positivity to seropositivity — or the presence of antibodies in the blood — and it took 36 days to reach adequate levels of neutralizing antibodies. These “neutralizing antibodies” are important in potentially protecting a person from reinfection of the same virus, the researchers wrote.

Four important caveats: Firstly, the study looked at a relatively small number of children. Secondly, the next phase of research will be to test whether coronavirus that is present along with the antibodies for the disease can be transmitted to other people. Thirdly, scientists need to explore whether antibodies correlate with immunity and, fourthly, they need to establish how long antibodies and potential protection from reinfection actually lasts. As such, Bahar reiterates the need for social distancing.

Related:Dr. Fauci: It’s ‘conceivable’ we’ll know by November if a safe, effective vaccine is coming

A separate study published this week in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that children can spread SARS-CoV-2, even if they never develop symptoms or even long after symptoms have cleared. It found a significant variation in how long children continued to “shed” the virus through their respiratory tract and, therefore, could potentially remain infectious. The researchers also found that the duration of COVID-19 symptoms also varied widely, from three days to nearly three weeks.

A recent systematic review estimated that 16% of children with a SARS-CoV-2 infection are asymptomatic, but evidence suggests that as many as 45% of pediatric infections are asymptomatic, according to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in children are similar to other infections and noninfectious processes, including influenza, according to the CDC.


A separate study in JAMA Pediatrics said children may spread SARS-CoV-2, even if they never develop symptoms or even long after symptoms have cleared.

Under pressure from the teachers union to delay the start of the school year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that in-person classes will be pushed back until Sept. 21, 11 days later than planned. Remote learning, also originally slated to start on Sept. 10, will now commence on Sept. 16. Other countries have not fared so well with school reopenings. Israel, which also reopened schools this week, experienced outbreaks when it reopened schools on May 17.

Bahar also advised teachers and students to wear masks. To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, it may be preferable to use high-quality cloth or surgical masks that are of a plain design instead of face shields and masks equipped with exhale valves, according to an experiment published Wednesday by Physics of Fluids, a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal covering fluid dynamics that was first established by the American Institute of Physics in 1958.

As of Sunday, the U.S. still has the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases (6,262,989), followed by Brazil (4,123,000), India (4,113,811) and Russia (1,022,228), according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. California became the first state in the country to surpass 700,000 confirmed cases. COVID has killed 188,711 people in the U.S. Worldwide, cases are near 27 million.

AstraZeneca
AZN,
-1.07%

, in combination with Oxford University; BioNTech SE
BNTX,
-1.19%

and partner Pfizer
PFE,
-0.11%

; GlaxoSmithKline
GSK,
-1.38%

; Johnson & Johnson
JNJ,
-0.64%

; Merck & Co.
MERK,
-0.95%

; Moderna
MRNA,
-3.45%

; and Sanofi
SAN,
+5.09%

are among those currently working toward COVID-19 vaccines.

The Dow Jones Industrial Index
DJIA,
-0.56%
,
the S&P 500
SPX,
-0.81%

and the Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
-1.26%

ended lower Friday. Doubts about traction for further fiscal stimulus from Washington may be one factor discouraging investors who have been betting on Republicans and Democrats striking a deal to offer additional relief to consumers and businesses.



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‘My brother was my best friend’: He moved into my late father’s home, changed the locks and blew through his money. Should I pursue criminal charges?


I am one of four children and my father died naming my brother the executor of his will.

My father died with no debt, and a home that was mortgage free in the best neighborhood. He had worked for the same company for over 45 years with a pension and savings throughout his life.

My brother and his wife moved into dad’s home even though they own their own home. They changed the locks, and hired an alarm company so no one could enter the property. They also refused to give anyone a copy of the will until after he presented it to the court, so they claimed.

They began blowing through my dad’s money (using his accounts, credit cards that were in dad’s name only) and refused to present and perform the duties of executor. My brother and his wife were in serious financial debt prior to dad’s death. When I confronted my brother, he blocked me on social media, and has refused to talk to me ever since.

The Moneyist:‘A man cave on wheels’: My husband’s RV is his pride and joy — but he owes $75,000 on it. If he dies, am I liable?

My brother was my best friend. His actions have destroyed me to the core. During all of these events, he and his wife divorced. She initiated the divorce when the money ran low. She filed for bankruptcy while still spending and taking exotic trips, which she posted all over Facebook.

I sent my brother money throughout this time to help with divorce costs, and begged him to show up at her bankruptcy hearing and acknowledge that they committed fraud. He still refused to speak to me.

I am so hurt by this whole situation. My dad, a hard working Vietnam vet, lies in an unmarked grave, which is ridiculous because he had a substantial amount of money, including funds from a $25,000 insurance policy from my grandfather.

I feel cheated and used. I don’t even have a picture of my parents. I need closure and I want to pursue criminal charges against my brother and my former sister-in-law through the state attorney general’s office.

I’ve spoken to several lawyers in this small town, and everyone says, “Let it go, your brother is a good guy.” Meanwhile, I’m supposed to suffer in silence with no relief. I tried and I can’t. I wake up daily crying from it all.

I have no relationship with my sisters. One sister stole my identity in the past, causing me great distress and financially ruining me. My brother knew this, so his actions hurt that much more.

Ready to Take Action

Dear Ready to Take Action,

It seems that you want justice for your father and peace of mind for yourself. Those two things can be mutually exclusive. You can have one without the other. If you do not succeed in prosecuting your brother for breaking his fiduciary duty as the executor, it does not mean that you can’t move on.

Not everyone is willing or able to take responsibility for their actions, and that’s OK. Your biggest responsibility is to yourself. Whatever happens with your father’s home and what’s left of his estate, and whatever becomes of your brother, you want to be free. That is your ultimate goal.

There is a statute of limitations on wills, and the clock usually starts ticking after the will has been filed with the probate court. Of course, we don’t know for sure if your father’s will was filed with the probate court and, if there was no will, his estate would still need to go through probate.

The statute also varies by state. There are different deadlines for trusts and wills that apply to different claims, and those statues can change depending on circumstances, according to Albertson & Davidson, a law firm in El Segundo, Calif.

“You must contest a will before it is admitted to probate,” the law firm states. “If a will is admitted to probate, then you have 120 days in which to ask the court to revoke probate. After that time frame, the will cannot be challenged.” It is not clear whether your father’s will was filed.

“Probate is a court process by which the court first determines if a will is valid, then appoints an executor to administer the will in a court-supervised process. When a court issues an order declaring the will is valid, we call this ‘admitting the will to probate,’” the firm adds.

The Moneyist: My father left me money for a house — and my husband put his name on the deed. How do I ensure it goes to our kids?

There is possible good news for your case: “If you want to sue a trustee for breach of trust, then you have three years to do so from the date you knew, or should have known, of the facts giving rise to the breach,” according to Albertson & Davidson.

But if you are never given an accounting or a report, there is no statute for fraud. “If you did not know what the trustee did, and the trustee never gave you an accounting or written report disclosing his actions, then your deadline to sue remains open indefinitely,” it says.

“Obviously, you should not wait forever to take action against your trustee,” the law firm says. “At some point in time, it will become difficult, if not impossible, to hold your trustee liable for harms if you do not take action.” You need to find a reputable law firm in your town or state.

Like I said, the deadline on taking action differs from state to state, but this gives you an idea of what you’re facing. Failing that, you may wish to make peace with the fact that your brother cannot be the brother you want him to be, nor can he be the son your father thought he was.

In the meantime, the Department of Veteran Affairs will provide, at no charge, a headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world. You can say goodbye to your father, and thank him for the life he gave you.

But your happiness cannot and should not depend on the outcome of this case or the resolution of the broken relationship with your brother. Your father gave you the tools during your lifetime to seek the kind of life you want for yourself, independent of the misdeeds of others.

This is the most important goal for you to pursue.

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.com. Want to read more?Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitterand read more of his columns here

Don’t miss:‘We will not have a vaccine by next winter.’ Like the 1918 Spanish flu, CDC says second wave of coronavirus could be worse. So what happens now?

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Coronavirus update

As of Saturday, COVID-19 had infected 26,623,562 people worldwide, which mostly does not account for asymptomatic cases, and killed 874,717. The U.S. still has the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases (6,200,518), followed by Brazil (4,091,801), India (4,023,179) and Russia (1,011,987), according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

In the meantime, cases keep rising in the U.S. with California becoming the first state in the country to surpass 700,000 confirmed cases; infections hit 730,662 there as of Saturday with 13,638 COVID-related deaths. New York has recorded 437,971 infections and the highest number of deaths in the U.S. (32,982). COVID has killed 187,755 people in the U.S.

AstraZeneca
AZN,
-1.07%

, in combination with Oxford University; BioNTech SE
BNTX,
-1.19%

and partner Pfizer
PFE,
-0.11%

; GlaxoSmithKline
GSK,
-1.38%

; Johnson & Johnson
JNJ,
-0.64%

; Merck & Co.
MERK,
-0.95%

; Moderna
MRNA,
-3.45%

; and Sanofi
SAN,
+5.09%

are among those currently working toward COVID-19 vaccines.

The Dow Jones Industrial Index
DJIA,
-0.56%
,
the S&P 500
SPX,
-0.81%

and the Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
-1.26%

ended lower Friday. Doubts about traction for further fiscal stimulus from Washington may be one factor discouraging investors who have been betting on Republicans and Democrats striking a deal to offer additional relief to consumers and businesses.





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