Stocks: The bull market hits a record
U.S. stocks have now had their longest bull run ever, said Matt Egan in CNN.com. The rally dates back to March 9, 2009. That year, in the wake of the financial crisis, the S&P 500 index hit a low of 666. It is now above 2,800. The prior record for a bull run, defined as a period in which the market never drops more than 20 percent from its high, was the 1990–2000 run-up. The S&P 500 rose 417 percent in that period, which ended with the bursting of the “dot-com bubble” in tech stocks.
Medicine: Drug companies brace for legal onslaught
Pharmaceutical companies responsible for making and distributing prescription painkillers are facing increased legal pressure from the Justice Department, said Rebecca Ballhaus in The Wall Street Journal. Encouraged by President Trump “to combat the highly addictive painkillers linked to tens of thousands of U.S. deaths a year,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering taking legal action against opioid makers. The DOJ has already asked to join settlement talks in lawsuits filed against drugmakers by state, municipal, and tribal governments. The suits argue that “aggressive marketing of prescription painkillers contributed to the opioid addiction epidemic.”
Companies: An end to quarterly reports?
President Trump last week “prodded regulators to look into scaling back how often publicly traded companies report financial results,” said Justin Sink in Bloomberg.com. Trump’s proposal, unfurled via a tweet, brought up a “long-simmering debate on Wall Street.” It would eliminate “the decades-old tradition of obligating companies to file quarterly reports,” and move to a semiannual system. Critics say the proposal would make companies less accountable to investors. Advocates counter that it should “reduce corporate costs, boost a flagging IPO market,” and ease the market’s constant focus on short-term results.
Tech: Facebook deletes more fake accounts
Facebook this week expunged 652 Iran- and Russia-linked fake accounts that were engaged in “ongoing influence campaigns on the platform,” said Casey Newton in TheVerge.com. “These were networks of accounts that were misleading people about who they were and what they were doing.” They included pages designed to look like news organizations while distributing malware. The accounts removed included some linked to Iran that “shared posts about politics in the Middle East, United Kingdom, and United States,” and others tied to Russian military intelligence that targeted Syria and Ukraine.