The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending September 17, 2021, closed at 5,424.54 for the 25 companies in the R&D World Index. The Index was down -0.71% (or -38.62 basis points) from the week ending September 10, 2021. The stock of nine R&D World Index members gained value from 0.78% (Intel) to 6.86% (Ford Motor Co.). The stock of 16 R&D World Index members lost value from -0.05% (Alphabet/Google) to -4.79% (Alibaba).
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., last week announced that it will no longer invest in companies that explore for fossil fuels and will instead invest in funds that support moving to an environmentally sensitive economy. The university’s direct exposure to fossil fuels was less than 2% at the end of its fiscal 2020, down from about 11% at the end of 2008. Harvard has one of the largest university endowments, with a market value of more than $40 billion in June 2020. Harvard’s Board of Overseers has three Harvard alumni who have pushed the school’s endowment managers to stop investments in oil and gas companies.
Brazil has announced that it will back off from using China’s CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine as new data reveals its lower efficacy against the virus’s Delta variant. Brazil’s government has halted negotiations for additional doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine and will not recommend its use for a third booster shot. The Chinese vaccine accounted for 80% of administered doses during the first two months of Brazil’s immunization campaign in 2021, but now accounts for less than 35% as Brazil increases local production of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine. The government now recommends use of Pfizer’s vaccine for COVID-19 booster shots.
Citing continued semiconductor chip shortages, RDW Index member General Motors last week announced that it will extend the closure of some of its North American factories, some of which may be closed until November. Seven plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico were added to the current closures. Ford Motor and Toyota have also held back their production schedules in September. As a result of low inventories, vehicle sales have fallen by about 14% in 2021 over the similar period in 2020, according to Wards Intelligence.
There has been conflicting research on the effectiveness and the potential need for a third booster shot to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week stated that the current vaccines cleared in the U.S. provide sufficient protection against severe disease and death without additional doses. However, FDA advisors and Israeli and Pfizer researchers stated in a report also released last week that the vaccines are waning in protection against infection after six months since inoculation and also against severe illness and hospitalization. Another report published in The Lancet last week concluded that boosters are not yet needed by the general population. An Israeli team, however, found that rates of virus infection were elevenfold lower with a third booster shot, revealing its potential use especially in elderly (those over the age of 60) people.
At last week’s G20 Agricultural Ministers’ Meeting last week India stated that there is a global need to increase investment in agricultural R&D amid the increasing challenges of climate change and an expected increase in food demand by 2030. India’s Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar stated that agriculture research played a major role in transforming India from a net food importer to a net food exporter. Important resources like water, energy and land are rapidly being depleted, and there is an increasing need for sustainable agriculture, says Tomar. India has recently developed 17 varieties of different crops which are resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses. The Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting is a prelude to the G20 Leaders’ Summit 2021 to be hosted by Italy in October.
Chevron, San Ramon, Calif., announced last week that it is tripling its spending on its new low-carbon unit, vowing to spend $10 billion through 2028 on biofuels, hydrogen production, carbon capture and other technologies, up from its previous $3 billion investment. The company expects the low-carbon unit to generate more than $1 billion in operating revenues by 2030. However, this is still less than a tenth of the $15 billion the company invests annually on traditional oil and gas fossil fuel projects. Chevron has not stated that it will commit to net-zero carbon emissions, similar to the pledges stated by BP, Royal Dutch Shell and being considered by Exxon Mobil.
New York-based Pagaya Technologies, an artificial intelligence (AI) company focused on financial lending is close to a $9 billion merger with SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) EJF Acquisition Corp. according to an item in the Wall Street Journal. EJF is backed by the investment firm EJF Capital who has about $290 million in assets. EJF is known for investing in the financial-services sector.
RDW Index member Apple Computer is reported to “go it alone” in its development and production of its often-rumored car project according to South Korea’s Maeil newspaper last week. Apple is now requesting information on parts from suppliers and building up its own resources. The company has discussed production of its car project over the past several years with BMW, Hyundai, Nissan, Magna International, LG and Toyota without any resolution, but has continued to file patents related to cars and driving. China’s self-driving taxi service, Waymo, Huawei and Xioami are also reported to be investigating their own cars and self-driving services.
Britain awarded its BAE Services and Rolls-Royce Holdings $117 million each to work on a new generation of nuclear submarines last week, a day after it and the U.S. announced a deal to supply these vessels to Australia. The UK companies will deliver design work over the next three years on a successor to the Astute Class submarines used by the Royal Navy. The funding will support approximately 350 jobs and will likely lay the groundwork for the Australian project which will see the Australian Navy cancel an existing deal for diesel-powered submarines supplied by France.
R&D World’s R&D Index is a weekly stock market summary of the top international companies involved in R&D. The top 25 industrial R&D spenders in 2019 were selected based on the latest listings from Schonfeld & Associates’ June 2020 R&D Ratios & Budgets. These 25 companies include pharmaceutical (10 companies), automotive (6 companies) and ICT (9 companies) who invested a cumulative total of nearly 260 billion dollars in R&D in 2019, or approximately 10% of all the R&D spent in the world by government, industries and academia combined, according to R&D World’s 2021 Global R&D Funding Forecast. The stock prices used in the R&D World Index are tabulated from NASDAQ, NYSE and OTC common stock prices for the companies selected at the close of stock trading business on the Friday preceding the online publication of the R&D World Index.