Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of November 23, 2020:
Business leaders urge Trump to concede. Business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers have called on President Trump to acknowledge the results of the election and to begin a formal transition of power to President-elect Joseph Biden. A group of 100 business executives in New York will also send a signed letter to President Trump this week urging him to accept the election results, as well as to direct the General Services Administration (GSA) to issue a letter of ascertainment certifying Biden the winner. On Monday, November 23, 2020, the Trump administration authorized the beginning of the presidential transition process.
- The takeaway: President Trump has pursued long-shot court remedies for unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud since the November 3, 2020 election. The court cases have met with little success. The General Services Administration, a federal agency that supports the functions of the federal government, has also failed to certify Biden the winner, blocking millions of dollars to which Biden is entitled to begin planning his new administration. Business groups worry Trump’s failure to enact a transition will hurt the economy as it deals with a resurgence of Covid-19, a weakened economy, and a high level of unemployment.
Tesla joins the big leagues. S&P Dow Jones Indices announced last week that Tesla will join the S&P 500, pushing another unnamed company out of the index. This news comes after the electric car company reported five consecutive profitable quarters. The S&P 500 requires a company to report four consecutive profitable quarters. Tesla is worth more than $400 billion and is set to become the most valuable company to join the S&P 500. The index will add Tesla on December 21, 2020.
- The takeaway: Tesla’s addition in the S&P 500 demonstrates its increasing position in the economy, and in the automotive industry, where electric cars are becoming more popular. The inclusion of Tesla is also expected to lead to a shift in investments in the S&P 500, as funds that track the index include Tesla in their portfolios. Additionally, Tesla’s move to the S&P 500 is expected to further solidify the dominance of the tech industry in the index, which includes Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Facebook, and Amazon. Keep in mind, however, that Tesla’s inclusion in the S&P 500 does not guarantee the company’s future growth.
Amazon wants to deliver straight to your medicine cabinet. Amazon launched a prescription home delivery service called Amazon Pharmacy in 45 states last week. This new service comes two years after Amazon acquired online pharmacy PillPack. The service will provide both brand-name and generic versions of prescriptions. While the service will offer common prescriptions such as birth control and steroid creams, it will not deliver Schedule II prescriptions such as opioids. Amazon Prime customers will reportedly receive free 2-day shipping of their prescriptions. Non-Prime members can get free 5-day delivery or pay $5.99 for 2-day shipping. The service will reportedly accept most forms of health insurance, as well payments from flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts.
- The takeaway: Amazon has been angling to enter the $300 billion pharmacy industry since 2017, and following its 2018 acquisition of PillPack. It will face entrenched competitors with wide distribution networks including brick and mortar pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. Amazon’s announcement market coincides with the Covid-19 pandemic, as more people turn to home delivery for essentials such as groceries and prescriptions.
SpaceX is seeing stars. The Crew Dragon, a spacecraft developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, landed safely at the International Space Station on Monday, November 16, 2020. The private spacecraft launched on the previous day, and the journey to the space station lasted just 27 hours. The crew, which includes four astronauts, including three from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and one from Japan, will stay at the space station for six months before returning home.
- The takeaway: The success of the trip could reportedly make the transportation of manned crews to space for exploration more routine, reducing the reliance on government agencies, including NASA.
737 Max gets the nod from the FAA. The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) approved Boeing’s 737 Max for domestic passenger flights in the U.S on November 18, 2020. The plane has been grounded around the globe since March 2019, following two separate crashes of the plane that together killed 346 people. Before the Max can take to the skies again, the FAA must inspect each plane to ensure that the proper changes have been made, and pilots must receive additional training to fly it. There are currently 387 grounded 737 Max planes across the globe, including 72 in the U.S. Each nation’s aviation authority will need to approve the plane for passenger flights before it can be used there. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) previously approved the plane for flight in Europe by the end of 2020.
- The takeaway: The accidents, caused by flaws in software meant to prevent planes from stalling mid-flight, have cost Boeing more than $20 billion to address, in addition to taking more than 300 lives. The FAA’s approval comes as air travel has declined dramatically as people avoid planes due to the pandemic. Experts have also expressed concerns about whether consumers will be willing to fly on the Max, given its history.
Find out what we covered in last week’s Scan.