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Pfizer expects 2021, 2022 COVID-19 vaccine sales to total at least $65 billion

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November 2, 2021

By Manas Mishra and Michael Erman

(Reuters) – Pfizer Inc on Tuesday said it expected 2021 sales of the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with German partner BioNTech to reach $36 billion and forecast another $29 billion from the shot in 2022, topping analyst estimates for both years.

The U.S. drugmaker said it is seeking to sign more vaccine deals with countries, which could drive sales even higher next year. It has the capacity to produce 4 billion doses in 2022 and has based its projections on sales of 1.7 billion doses.

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The vaccine brought in sales of $13 billion in the third quarter. The company splits gross profit from sales of the shot in most of the world with BioNTech.

Pfizer’s shares were up more than 4% at $45.44.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was the first to receive U.S. authorization last year, and U.S. regulators are likely to give the green light to begin administering it to children ages 5 to 11 as soon as Wednesday.

Pfizer’s updated vaccine sales forecast suggests the shot will account for as much as 44% of its total revenue for the year.

Wall Street on average expected COVID-19 vaccine sales of $35.44 billion this year and $22.15 billion for 2022, according to Refinitiv data.

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Analysts have said that Pfizer and other COVID-19 vaccine makers stand to reap billions of dollars from annual vaccine boosters over the next few years.

Company executives said Pfizer plans to monitor participants in its clinical study for a fourth dose, to document the impact of possible annual, repeat vaccinations.

“We already now are preparing for revaccination when the third boost immunity may start to fade, possibly after year, which we think would be the type of data to generate to support more of an annual vaccination similar to flu,” said Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten.

The United States, Israel and a handful of other countries have started rolling out booster doses to some people. Officials in those countries say the protection from the original round of shots declines over time.

A majority of booster doses are expected to be sold to high income countries, which pay more for the shots as part of Pfizer’s plan to link the price of its vaccine to a country’s ability to pay.

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Pfizer said it expects to deliver at least one billion doses of its vaccine to low- and middle- income countries next year.

Sales of the vaccine, called Comirnaty, have vastly outpaced those from rivals Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson. J&J has been dealing with production snags and safety concerns and Moderna was told by the FDA that review of its shot for adolescents – a group already eligible for the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine – has been delayed.

Pfizer is on track to deliver 2.3 billion doses of the vaccine, out of the roughly 3 billion it plans to produce this year.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and Michael Emran in New Jersey; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Bill Berkrot)

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Investors brace for potential hit to earnings because of Omicron

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December 6, 2021

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As details of a new COVID-19 variant emerge, investors are bracing for a potential hit to U.S. corporate earnings, particularly among retailers, restaurants and travel companies.

News of the Omicron variant comes in the middle of the holiday shopping period, and many businesses are already struggling with higher inflation and supply chain snags because of the pandemic.

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That is putting the focus again on these companies affected by the reopening of the economy, said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco in New York.

“Are we still going to see traffic into restaurants and retailers, or at least retailers that derive most of their revenue from in-store traffic as opposed to online?” she said. “The other area of vulnerability of course is supply chain disruptions.”

She and other strategists said it’s too early to tell the extent to which the variant could affect earnings.

The Omicron variant that captured global attention in South Africa less than two weeks ago has spread to about one-third of U.S. states, but the Delta version accounts for the majority of COVID-19 infections as cases rise nationwide, U.S. health officials said on Sunday.

Goldman Sachs on Saturday cited risks and uncertainty around the emergence of the Omicron variant as it cut its outlook for U.S. economic growth to 3.8% for 2022. While the variant could slow economic reopening, the firm expects “only a modest drag” on service spending, it said in a note.

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U.S. companies have just wrapped up a much stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings season, and the rate of fourth-quarter earnings year-over-year growth has been expected to be well below the previous quarter’s.

Analysts see fourth-quarter S&P 500 earnings up 21.6% from the year-ago quarter, while third-quarter earnings growth was at about 43%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

That fourth-quarter forecast has not changed since Nov. 26, just after the new variant became headline news.

Omicron may be affecting travel plans. Airline shares have already come under pressure, with the NYSE Arca airline index down 8.3% since the close of the session before Nov. 26.

For companies, “the significance of the impact will depend on how long the Omicron measures last,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. “There will be some short-term impact… It’ll surely cause some short-term disruption to travel.”

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Colin Scarola, a vice president of equity research at CFRA, wrote in a Dec. 2 note on the airline sector that while details of the variant are still emerging, trends in U.S. air travel over recent months with the Delta variant may give some insight into what could happen to travel under the Omicron variant.

“This recent history tells us that most people have already accepted the material risk of infection with a Covid-19 variant when fully vaccinated. But knowing that risk of severe illness remains very low, they’ve been comfortable flying on airplanes,” he wrote.

Compounding concerns about the 2022 earnings outlook are higher costs for companies, with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell last week signaling that inflation risks are rising and numerous companies citing rising costs during the third-quarter earnings season.

Even before the Omicron news, Tuz said investors were reading “more and more about inflation and wages and other inputs,” and that was expected to continue into 2022.

“I don’t know if the ability to pass along these higher costs is going to exist as much,” he said.

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(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Alden Bentley and Nick Zieminski)

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Bank investment chiefs signal China and emerging market caution

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December 6, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) -Market volatility and uncertainty over China’s indebted property sector is making bank investment chiefs cautious about its assets, amid more general nervousness about broader emerging markets.

“I would take a wait-and-see approach on emerging markets,” Credit Suisse global chief investment officer Michael Strobaek told the Reuters annual Investment Outlook Summit.

“I would take a day-by-day, week-by-week approach to China, to see what’s unfolding on the default side and the policy side,” he said, referring to problems in the country’s giant corporate debt sector.

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“Only if I see real deep opportunities, I’d go back in.”

Willem Sels, Global CIO, Private Banking & Wealth Management, HSBC, said clients needed to take a longer term view on emerging markets after many were hurt by recent volatility.

“We have a neutral view on China, we try to diversify,” he said.

“We try to get the confidence of investing in China. We try to align ourselves with what is clear in terms of government policy, and that’s the net zero transmission.”

Investors can still “find some winners” in China by digging down into areas like green tech and 5G-related businesses where the government was showing significant support, said Mark Haefele, CIO at UBS Global Wealth Management.

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(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes, Sujata Rao and Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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IMF says euro zone should keep supporting economy, high inflation is temporary

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December 6, 2021

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone governments should continue to spend to support the COVID-19 economic recovery, though in an increasingly focused way, and consolidate public finances only when it is firmly under way, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday.

In a regular report on the euro zone economy presented to the group’s finance ministers, the IMF noted, however, that while consolidation itself could wait, a credible way of how it would be done in the future should be announced already now.

“Policies should remain accommodative but become increasingly targeted, with a focus on mitigating potential rises in inequality and poverty,” the IMF said.

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“Fiscal policy space should be rebuilt once the expansion is firmly underway, but credible medium-term consolidation plans should be announced now,” it said.

The Fund also noted that the rise in inflation, which hit a record high of 4.9% on a year-on-year basis in November, was temporary and, therefore, not a big threat because it did not translate into a spike in wages, called a second-round effect.

“Recent inflation readings have surprised on the upside, but much of the increase still appears transitory, with large second-round effects unlikely,” the report said, adding that the European Central Bank’s monetary policy should therefore continue to be accommodative.

“Structural reforms and high-impact investment, including in climate-friendly infrastructure and digitalization, remain crucial to enhancing resilience and boosting potential growth,” the IMF said.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Paul Simao)

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