Top US stocks to watch: Boeing, J&J and Big Tech

The EU and the US call a truce in their battle over aircraft subsidies, J&J’s vaccine given the green light in Malaysia, regulatory pressure on Big Tech in Europe builds while Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart face their own battles in India, and LinkDoc files for an IPO.

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Boeing and Airbus

The European Union and the US have called a truce in their lengthy 17-year battle over aircraft subsidies, European Commission president Ursala von der Leyen revealed ahead of the EU-US summit in Brussels.

Both sides have been locked in a battle over how they subsidise US planemaker Boeing and its European rival Airbus, which combined have a virtual monopoly on the market. Having agreed to suspend retaliatory tariffs slapped on everything from European wine to US tobacco back in March, the pair have agreed to remove them for five years whilst they work out a wider deal on what subsidies should be allowed.

‘This meeting has started with a breakthrough on aircraft. This really opens a new chapter in our relationship because we move from litigation to cooperation on aircraft – after 17 years of dispute’, said von der Leyen.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine has been awarded emergency approval by authorities in Malaysia, which the country plans to source through the COVAX facility backed by the World Health Organisation.

The government has previously said it had secured 3.5 million jabs of the single-dose vaccine but did not reveal how many it will acquire through COVAX. Malaysia’s vaccine war chest – enough to jab all of its population – is currently made mostly up of vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Chinese firm Sinovac.

Malaysia is ramping-up its vaccine programme after having to reinstate lockdown rules earlier this month following a rise in infections, with only around 10% of its population currently inoculated.

Big Tech

Big Tech stocks continue to face increased scrutiny in Europe after the EU’s top court ruled national agencies should be able to pursue companies even if they are not the lead regulator.

Most big US tech firms have EU headquarters in Ireland, including Google, Twitter, Facebook and Apple, putting them under the scope of Ireland’s regulator, which is responsible for enforcing GDPR rules that can allow a company to be fined up to 4% of global revenue for breaching data rules. But several other countries have not been happy leaving it down to Ireland to pursue companies on behalf of the wider bloc, with some complaining it takes too long to investigate.

However, the EU Court of Justice has said regulators in other countries can now pursue any allegations of GDPR infringement and not wait for Ireland, but said only ‘under certain conditions’.

Amazon and Walmart

India’s antitrust watchdog plans to speed-up its renewed investigation into allegations that Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart behave in an anti-competitive manner as scrutiny of the two companies continues to grow.

The Competition Commission of India initiated an investigation into the two firms back in January 2020 to look at allegations that both companies were promoting particular sellers on their platforms and offering discounts to deter competitors – claims that both companies have denied.

Reuters reported the regulator is planning to expedite the case, citing an unnamed source. Amazon and Flipkart are both expected to appeal.

General Electric

General Electric’s aviation unit and French outfit Safran are developing a new aircraft engine aimed at cutting emissions and fuel use by 20% compared to existing models.

The pair’s joint venture company CFM International said the CFM RISE programme will unleash ‘a range of new, disruptive technologies for future engines that could enter service by the mid-2030s’.

The decision comes as the venture was extended until at least 2050, in-line with their ambitions to halve CO2 emissions from the aviation industry.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines flights across the US were halted on Monday and delayed for hours after suffering technical problems with a weather information system.

Lost connectivity to the third-party weather system meant flights were halted to ensure the safety of customers of staff. It is reported to have affected several hundred flights but has now been resolved.

LinkDoc Technology

Chinese medical data firm LinkDoc Technology has filed for an initial public offering in the US to raise funds to fuel its research and development and allow it to make acquisitions and investments.

The company reported a 41% rise in revenue during the first three months of 2021 but revealed it was still in the red with a net loss of RMB135.4 million, significantly wider from the RMB61.6 million loss the year before.

LinkDoc is backed by a subsidiary of Alibaba Group.

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