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DoorDash, Facebook, Walt Disney: Stocks That Defined the Week

DoorDash Inc.

The initial public offering market is still on fire even as the weather cools. Food-delivery company DoorDash shares surged 86% in their first day of trading Wednesday, kicking off an uncharacteristically busy month as the IPO market shatters records. The next day, shares of the home-rental startup

Airbnb

more than doubled in their market debut, reflecting a soaring market for new stock listings and the company’s ability to navigate the coronavirus-induced downturn in travel this year.

Exxon Mobil Corp.

A new activist investor with a sustainability bent wants Exxon Mobil to act faster to remake itself. The Wall Street Journal reported on Dec. 6 that Engine No. 1 LLC was preparing to send a letter to the beleaguered energy giant’s board, urging the company to focus more on investments in clean energy while cutting costs elsewhere to preserve its dividend. The letter identifies four people the firm plans to nominate to Exxon’s 10-person board. Exxon has been seen as somewhat of a holdout as rivals have begun investing in renewable energy in recent years. Exxon shares dropped 1.9% Monday.

Pfizer Inc.

It looks like Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine will be the first to reach Americans. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday it was finalizing the work needed to clear the vaccine developed by Pfizer and German partner

BioNTech

SE, after the injection was endorsed by an expert panel. Its emergency-use authorization is expected to become final Friday or over the weekend. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that people could be getting the vaccine early next week. Due to limited supplies, the first doses are expected to go to health workers treating Covid-19 patients and nursing-home residents. Pfizer shares fell 1.5% Friday.

FireEye Inc.

FireEye protects customers from cyberattacks, but this time it was the victim. The cybersecurity firm said Tuesday that it was breached by nation-state hackers. The highly sophisticated attack compromised the software tools used to test the defenses of thousands of customers. In past years, FireEye helped businesses respond to some of the most serious hacks on record, such as the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures by North Korea. The company has been seen as an industry pioneer in detecting and responding to cyberattacks carried out by foreign governments, and has often publicly linked prolific hacking groups to specific foreign intelligence services. Shares fell 13% Wednesday.

MetLife Inc.

MetLife is saying goodbye to its home-insurance unit. Swiss insurer

Zurich Insurance Group AG

will acquire the company’s U.S. property-and-casualty insurance business for $3.94 billion, the companies said Friday. It is the latest in a string of deals in the sector during the coronavirus pandemic, as insurers around the world reconsider their operations and grapple with the impact of low interest rates on their investment portfolios. The move comes as MetLife focuses on expanding offerings in its big business of selling benefits programs to companies, including life and dental insurance and a growing number of other choices. It recently agreed to purchase a vision insurer, on the heels of a deal involving pet insurance. MetLife shares lost 0.8% Friday.

Facebook Inc.

The U.S. wants Facebook to break up. The Federal Trade Commission and 48 states and territories hit the social-media giant with antitrust lawsuits on Wednesday, accusing the company of buying and freezing out small startups to choke competition. The FTC’s antitrust case seeks to force Facebook to unwind its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, and the 48 attorneys general allege that a lack of competition has harmed consumers by weakening privacy protections. The lawsuits reflect the U.S. concern over Big Tech dominance and comes weeks after the Justice Department brought a case alleging Google was illegally maintaining a monopoly in its search business. Facebook shares fell 1.9% Wednesday.

Walt Disney Co.

Talk about a growth spurt. The entertainment giant expects that the world-wide subscriber count for Disney+ could triple to 260 million by 2024. Right now, its year-old flagship streaming service has 86.8 million subscribers globally, having surpassed the company’s goal of reaching 60 million to 90 million subscribers by 2024. The revised guidance puts Disney+ in the league of chief competitor

Netflix Inc.,

which has nearly 200 million subscribers but isn’t recording the same rapid growth. Disney Chief Executive

Bob Chapek

said Thursday the company plans to add more than 100 new titles to the service per year, drawing on franchises such as Star Wars and Marvel Studios to lure viewers. Disney shares gained 14% Friday.

Write to Francesca Fontana at [email protected]

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