E Heavy News Day

Another heavy news day and a bunch of new highs in the tech sector-heavy Nasdaq, including my holding from the Dark Ages, Microsoft MSFT. For a long-term reporter on France (me) the big news today is that Pres. Emmanuel Macron plans to shut down the elite Ecole Nationale d'Administration, which trains people to run the French gov't from a campus near Versailles, a staple of the curious way la République differs from other countries. He graduated from ENA in 2004 but aims to undercut his alma mater to win support from the underclass and the “gilet jaunes” who blocked French highways. Getting into ENA for non-upper-educated students is virtually impossible.

The other big news is that South Koreans have voted down the Democrats led by PM Moon Jai-ha in landslide mayoralty contests in Seoul and Busan, the two largest cities there, which indicates trouble for the national elections to come. US job losses were up 744,000 vs a forecast of 694,000.

Business newspaper article

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Now for the blog for today starting with the drug sector:

*Sometimes companies just run into terrible luck, now the case for Astra-Zeneca, the UK drug firm. There now information supporting the worrying pileup of cases of blood clots among those getting its “Oxford” jab, and deaths from this, which has led to the ban on using it among people with lower risks for covid-19 (essentially young people, with different countries picking different age groups). But now a totally different AZN product is in trouble, its rozadustat which treats anemia from chronic kidney disease, allegedly with less heart risk than rival products. AZN's partner, San Francisco's FibroGen, yesterday admitted that it had manipulated safety data for the product in non-dialysis patients released by AZN to the US FDA 14 months ago. Rozadustat is an HF-PHI oral compound aimed at people whose kidney problems stop them from using erythropoietin, the standard of care. As many as 6 heart deaths per cohort more than was reported. A new FDA approval will come in mid-July, but meanwhile, AZN is selling the drug in China and the US. The Oxford side is being listed here as Vassitech which will aim to raise £425 mn plus. Yesterday British PM Boris Johnson visited the AZN Macclesfield plant and the result is that share price rose 2.32% to $49.54.

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