As Inflation Persists, Everything Is Getting More Expensive

A study suggests that J&J vaccine recipients may fare better with a Moderna or Pfizer booster. The finding from a federal clinical trial, along with a mixed review from the F.D.A., is a blow to Johnson & Johnson’s case for approving a booster of its single-dose coronavirus vaccine. F.D.A. advisers meet today and tomorrow to decide on allowing J&J and Moderna to offer booster shots.

The S.E.C. is sued for its stance on proxy advisers. The National Association of Manufacturers took issue with the securities regulator for not enforcing a Trump-era rule that sought to rein in the firms that are hired by institutional investors to advise them on how to vote their shares. Some companies argue that proxy advisory firms distort shareholder votes, but a recent study found that the firms can lead to better corporate outcomes.

MindBody acquires ClassPass in a merger of exercise services. The combination of the two companies that help individuals find open exercise classes, and studios fill open spots, is a bet that people will soon return to gyms. Meanwhile, Tonal, a maker of connected fitness equipment, announced that the basketball star LeBron James has invested in the company, a bet that people will upgrade their home gyms.

The Labor Department proposed rule changes yesterday that would make it easier for retirement plans to add investment options based on environmental, social and governance, or E.S.G., considerations.

Reversing a Trump-era policy, the proposal not only permits pension plan administrators from considering these factors, but it may make it their legal duty to do so, especially as the economic consequences of climate change continue to emerge. The Biden administration’s regulations would also make it possible for E.S.G. funds to be the default setting upon enrollment, which the previous administration prohibited.

The existing rule appears to have a “chilling effect” on using E.S.G. factors to judge investments, said Marty Walsh, the labor secretary. “If these legal concerns were keeping fiduciaries on the sidelines, it could mean worse outcomes for workers and retirees,” Walsh said. E.S.G. factors are now incorporated in some $17 trillion worth of investments, or about one in three dollars under professional management. A small fraction of these investments are held by retirement plans, even as interest is rising fast, especially among younger investors.


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