It's been a rollercoaster for US stocks this past week. On 13 December lower-than-expected US inflation raised hopes of a Santa Rally but these hopes were soon dashed.

As expected, the Federal Reserve slowed the pace of interest rate hikes to 50 basis points at its latest meeting (14 December) but its updated forecasts and statements indicated that a pivot away from rate increases is still a long way off. Plus, weak retail figures on 15 December gave a worrying indication on the impact the Fed's actions are already having on the economy - heightening recession fears.

A slight uptick in oil prices helped shares in energy services firms Haliburton (HAL:NYSE) and Baker Hughes (BHI). Warner Bros Discovery (WBD:NASDAQ) shares sank as it raised the projected costs for scrapping planned content by $1 billion to $3.5 billion.

Also in the entertainment space, reports of a poor uptake for streaming giant Neflix's (NFLX:NASDAQ) new ad-supported subscription option helped erase some of the gains the stock has made in recent months.


Shares in biotech firm Moderna (MRNA:NASDAQ) jumped 20% on Wednesday and a further 5% on Thursday after the company announced positive test results for one of its experimental cancer drugs.

The firm's mRNA cancer vaccine, used in conjunction with Merck's (MRK:NYSE) Keytruda treatment, met the primary goal in a Phase 2b Keynote study in patients with melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

The trial ‘demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful reduction in the risk of disease recurrence or death’ compared to using Keytruda on its own.

By validating Moderna's mRNA technology in the field of cancer treatment, the results show the company has more to offer than just coronavirus vaccines.

‘Today's results are highly encouraging’, said Moderna's chief executive Stephane Bancel. ‘mRNA has been transformative for Covid-19, and now, for the first time ever, we have demonstrated the potential for mRNA to have an impact on outcomes in a randomized clinical trial in melanoma’.


Shareholders are getting a bit fed-up with Elon Musk. It's all very well that he wants to transform micro blogging site Twitter but what about Tesla (TSLA:NASDAQ), the main source of his wealth and where thousands of private investors have money tied up.

The $3.6 billion stake sale, across multiple trades between 12 and 14 December, means the founder's Tesla stake is now down from 17% to 13.4% in a year.

Shares in the electric vehicles maker have been hammered this year - they've lost more than 60% in 2022 - yet Musk continues to flog huge chunks of stock, sending the market all the wrong messages, and this is really hurting the hundreds of thousands of ordinary shareholders who are primarily interested in the electric vehicle's business, not the wild, unpredictable nature of its boss.

Surely it must be time for Tesla to hire a new chief executive and let Elon Musk continue his extra-curricular activities without further compromising the electric car business.


There's been quite the turnaround at Oracle (ORCL:NASDAQ) since the end of September. Shares in the Texas-based enterprise database giant are up 34% in 10 weeks (to $81.82) as the investment mood music picked up tempo and investors started to predict that a knock-out second quarter was on the cards.

The believers were right. Revenue jumped 18% (25% on a currency adjusted basis), comfortably ahead of its' own projections and analyst forecasts, partly helped by the acquisitions of healthcare software firm Cerner in June. Oracle noted that revenue in the quarter was more than $200 million ahead of the company's own expectations.

‘Simply put, we had an outstanding quarter,’ Oracle CEO Safra Catz said on a call with analysts. ‘More and more customers are recognising our second-generation infrastructure cloud as being better architected for higher performance, better security and unmatched reliability’ than other cloud providers.

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Issue Date: 16 Dec 2022