Tuesday May 26, 2020.
Markets Rise on Vaccine and Reopening Confidence
The markets surged today with the DJIA rising over 600 points and the S&P 500 finally breaking 3,000. The increase was partially attributed to a general increase in consumer confidence as well as news from pharma companies Novavax (NVAX: US), who says preliminary results from their Phase 1 COVID-19 vaccine trials should be available in July and Merck (MRK: US), who announced a series of collaborations surrounding treatments and vaccine candidates for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Adding to the bullish mood was the long awaited return of floor traders to the New York Stock Exchange, albeit under new restrictions and in much smaller numbers. CNBC reports that around 80 traders – or approximately 25% of the pre-pandemic numbers – returned to the trading floor, but only after receiving temperature scans, signing an indemnity agreement, and being required to practice social distancing while in the building. Most interestingly, traders using public transportation will not – for now – be allowed on the floor.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had the honor of ringing the opening bell, nine weeks after the floor’s historic closing.
Apple Reopens More Stores, But Are They Listening to Your Conversations?
CNBC reports that Apple (AAPL: US) will be reopening around 100 more stores in the United States this week, with service levels varying from curbside to walk-in.“This week we’ll return to serving customers in many US locations,” an Apple representative told CNBC. “For customer safety and convenience, most stores will offer curbside or storefront service only, where we provide online order pick-up and Genius Bar appointments.” The news comes on the back of recently resurfaced concerns about privacy and passive listening by Siri which were raised by Thomas le Bonniec, a former contractor for the company. Le Bonniec claims he was contracted to listen to and grade recordings made by Apple devices, telling The Guardian that he “listened to hundreds of recordings every day, from various Apple devices (eg. iPhones, Apple Watches, or iPads). These recordings were often taken outside of any activation of Siri, eg in the context of an actual intention from the user to activate it for a request. These processings [sic] were made without users being aware of it, and were gathered into datasets to correct the transcription of the recording made by the device.”
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