OxyContin Maker Cuts Sales Force

In a surprise move, Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the opiate painkiller OxyContin, has said that it will reduce its direct sales force and stop the direct marketing of opiates to doctors. In a release yesterday, the drug maker said it had reduced its sales force by more than half to about 200 positions. The remaining 200 sales positions will…

Business News

OxyContin Maker Cuts Sales Force

In a surprise move, Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the opiate painkiller OxyContin, has said that it will reduce its direct sales force and stop the direct marketing of opiates to doctors. In a release yesterday, the drug maker said it had reduced its sales force by more than half to about 200 positions. The remaining 200 sales positions will focus their efforts on the drugmaker's non-opioid products. Purdue Pharma has total revenue of about $3 billion, with perhaps a third of the total coming from painkiller OxyContin. The company continues to be the largest…

What’s Going on with Uber in London?

Uber has been on London’s roads for a very long time. It is a taxi service which is available on call and works with the help of self-employed workers. The freelance taxi drivers will receive you from the address using a mobile phone app. It is as simple as it can get because you don’t have to make a phone call or even text, just use the app and get yourself anywhere in London. Uber has been in many controversies since past two months, and it was a surprise for almost everyone. It was even…

General Electric Searches for Direction

When Jack Welch left General Electric at the dawn of the 21st century, he was revered as among the greatest business executives ever. Revenues during his twenty-year reign increased by 385% and investors in the company saw a 20% compound return on their money. Fast-forward seventeen years later to today and General Electric is a company seen in disarray by many. New CEO John Flannery has been forced to slash guidance and announce asset sales. A complete break-up of the company is even being discussed. What has gone so terribly wrong? And if a break-up…

United Hints at Potential Airline Price War

It seems a long time ago now, but once airlines were not even seen as investable by a large portion of money managers. The businesses were highly capital intensive and deeply competitive, producing major swings in profitability - from modestly profitable in good times to deep losses in bad times. United and American airlines have both been in bankruptcy protection in the last twenty years. Following the financial crisis, however, a new sense of discipline seemed to emerge in the industry and investors returned to the sector. Today, Delta carries a market cap of $43…

The World’s Most Lucrative Sports

When the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs suited up in Los Angeles in early 1967 for the first Super Bowl it was admittedly a new concept, but that did not stop 50 million Americans from tuning in and advertisers paying $40,000 for a 30-second television spot. Fast forward more than fifty years later and the Super Bowl is watched by more than 100 million Americans and the price for a 30-second advertisement has soared all the way to $5 million. That kind of financial largesse is not limited to a single sport…

What Apple Gains from its Deal with Shazam

The news that Apple has recently bought Shazam for $400 million (disclosed by unidentified sources) is a surprise to many. The combination of Apple’s streaming service and the London-based app is now intended as the best place to  discover and experience music. Neither company has revealed the amount Apple has paid for purchasing the app, but different resources estimate it to be $400 million. At one point, Shazam was being valued at $1 billion. Shazam enjoys a broad geographic base of users and the rare acquisition by Apple demonstrates its continued push to be a…

Economics News

Watch President Trump’s Full Speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap9yyHg87hc&t=16s The following is a transcript of the President's remarks in Davos, Switzerland on January 26, 2018: It’s a privilege to be here at this forum of business and science and diplomacy and people from world affairs gathered for many, many years to discuss how we can to advance prosperity and peace. I'm here to represent the interests of the American people and affirm America's friendship and partnership in building a better world. Like all nations represented at this great forum, America hopes for a future in which everyone can prosper and every child can…

Spatial Poverty Traps in India

An important aim targeted by economic growth is uplifting the poor or the downtrodden in a society. If this primary aim of economic growth is not achieved; it might lead to more problems than what it actually aims to solve. Human wants are unlimited and the means or resources available to satiate these wants are limited. For any given country, poor natural resource endowments and an inappropriate access to these natural resources is a significant patron in rising levels of poverty. Apart from peripheral and marginal changes made to enhance their conditions, poor people still…

The Death and Life of the Estate Tax

As President Trump and Congressional Republicans are poised to to place into law an historical revamp to the United States tax code, changes to the estate tax may be receiving less coverage than other items such as a big decline in the corporate tax rate, the loss of some individual tax credits, and changes in the standard deduction and child tax credits because so few are directly affected by it. It is also not consequential to federal revenues, providing only about $20 billion, or less than 1% of federal revenues. Although a similar tax had been…

“Cars For Cheese”: Japan and E.U. Strike Trade Accord

Japan and the European Union finalized a trade deal that had been agreed to in July on Friday. The agreement covers a total population of 600 million (about 8% 0f the world's population) and a third of global GDP. Brussels called the deal the most significant ever for large agri-business in Europe, while Japan hoped the deal would further secure a large market for their export sector, including autos and other industrial goods, as well as electronics. The agreement will reduce tariffs between the two areas as well as harmonize some regulations.Specifically, the deal will…

Can Serbia’s Improving Economy Last?

After nearly two decades of ethnic and religious strife, Serbians had some reason for optimism in October 2006 when nearly four million Serbs went to the polls to approve a new constitution. The new constitution was contentious in its treatment of Kosovo, which later formally broke from Serbia, but marked a new ear for Serbs as it became a stand-alone country for the first time after Montenegro separated earlier in the year. Despite some positive developments, Serbs are still waiting for the validation of their optimism eleven years later. Serbia isn't a wealthy country and…

Brexit Talks Cross Milestone, but Significant Challenges Remain

United Kingdom and European Union negotiators have come to an agreement on the first set of Brexit-related issues, but now move on to the thorniest problems surrounding trade and access to markets. British Prime Minister Theresa May has agreed to pay the European Union between 35 billion and 39 billion pounds to settle the remaining obligations Britain has to the E.U. The two sides also reached an agreement on the rights of British citizens living and working in the E.U. and vice versa after Britain leaves the bloc. Currently, 3 million E.U. citizens are in…

Equities

Why Has the Stock Market Declined? (In Simple Terms)

The modern stock market has been around since the 17th century when the first exchange was organized in Amsterdam. It is safe to say that at no point in history have so many individuals and families had so much of their savings invested in the stock market - generally through mutual funds or other retirement vehicles. Close to 60% of Americans now have some direct stake in the stock market according to Gallup, through direct investments, pensions, 401ks, or IRAs. Yet, the stock market remains a black box to most…

A Value Investor’s Shopping List for an Expensive Market

This coming spring will mark the 9th anniversary of the current equities bull market. An investment in the S&P 500 at the beginning of 2009 would have returned 244% as of today – good for an annualized return of 14.7%. History would suggest that the current bull market may have further to run. Since 1882, there have been a total of 10 market cycles – both bull and bear. The average secular bull market has lasted 11 years and the average secular bear market has lasted 14 years. That compares…

How Do You Know When You Can Buy Equifax?

Wall Street has the most inane and stupid aphorisms on the planet. "Buy low and sell high." Such sage advice. Another one is "don't catch a falling knife." No? Then how can I buy low? The truth is that making a decision on whether to purchase shares in a company that has been recently tarnished is one of the toughest investors make. Are you picking up a great company at a discount or merely buying another Valeant on the way down? The recent troubles of Equifax make for a very…

Separating Your Politics From Investing

Investing is a contrarian game. The only way to win in the long run is to see things that others have missed, finding the value in places where it has been ignored. It is certainly based on sets of objective criteria, but also comes down to the human judgment of how to weigh multiple and complicated factors and is, therefore, an ultimately subjective endeavor. New investors are taught to "buy what you know." This was especially en vogue during Peter Lynch's heyday in the 1990s. The advice is not strictly…

Interviews

Larry Kudlow on JFK, Reagan, Tax Cuts, and the Fed

Larry Kudlow is CNBC's Senior Contributor, an informal advisor to the Trump administration, former Associate Director of Economics at the Office of Management and Budget in the Reagan White House, and founder of the economic consultancy Kudlow and Company, LLC. EW: Mr. Kudlow, it's a great pleasure to speak to you. Thanks so much for agreeing to talk about your new book on JFK and Reagan and hopefully a little…

A Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought: Dennis Rasmussen on David Hume and Adam Smith

EW: Thanks so much for your time. You are a Political Science Professor at Tufts, in Boston. For those who are not too familiar with your background, what led you to explore the relationship between Hume and Smith so closely? DR: Well, even before starting this book I’d worked on Hume and (especially) Smith for a long time. My first book centered on Smith’s response to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s critique of…

The Inventions that Transformed Society: A Conversation with Tim Harford

Read Tim’s Financial Times Column Purchase Fifty Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy “Each of these inventions tells us a story, not just about human ingenuity, but about the invisible systems of the world.” – Tim Harford EW: Tim, thanks so much for speaking with me today. I really enjoyed reading the book. It did what you always seem to do so well, which is bring together multiple strands into a…

Commodities

Gas Prices Set for Temporary Rise

The battering of the U.S. Gulf Coast is shutting in at least ten refineries, which could drive gas prices up sharply. U.S. gasoline futures for September delivery are currently trading at $1.79, up from a recent low on August 17th of $1.55. Retail gasoline prices are hovering at $2.51 per…

IEA Sees Rebalancing Oil Market

In a report released today, the IEA said that global oil markets are recovering due to steady growth in demand, but that a return to stability has been hampered by non-compliance with quotas among OPEC members, particularly Algeria, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates. Non-OPEC countries are also continuing to…

M & A

What Apple Gains from its Deal with Shazam

The news that Apple has recently bought Shazam for $400 million (disclosed by unidentified sources) is a surprise to many. The combination of Apple’s streaming service and the London-based app is now intended as the…

Ascension Health and Providence St. Joseph in Mega Hospital Merger

Just as CVS and Aetna have announced a deal to shake up the United States healthcare system, Ascension Health and Providence St. Joseph have announced a merger between the hospital owners that will continue the…

Bob Iger Looking to Extend Disney Tenure, but What is the Future of Fox Leadership?

No deal has been reached yet, but it is looking increasingly likely that Disney and Twenty-First Century Fox will strike a deal for Disney to purchase the substantial bulk of the entertainment assets of Fox;…

Disney Still Hunting Twenty-First Century Fox Assets

After failing to strike a deal because of price, Disney is once again talking to Twenty-First Century Fox about a purchase of some of Fox's assets. Comcast, owner of NBC Universal, is also considering a…

Government Sues to Block AT&T – Time Warner Merger

AT&T's transformation from a telecom provider to media distributor took a blow today as the Justice Department announced that it would sue to block its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner from going forward. The…

Under the Hood of Berkshire Hathaway’s Pilot/Flying J Purchase

Berkshire Hathaway announced last week that it is buying truck stop and gas station owner Pilot/Flying J in a multi-step transaction that will see Berkshire initially acquire 38.6% of the company and then up their…

Unemployment

U.S. Employment Growth Weakens in May

The United States economy created 138,00 jobs in the month of May while the unemployment rate ticked lower from 4.4% to 4.3%. The job growth was somewhat disappointing and falls short of the number needed to grow the economy in the long-term. In April, 174,000…

US Non-farm Payrolls Increase by 211,000 in April

After a tepid March report, US employment accelerated in April with 211,000 jobs created according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate fell to 4.4% from 4.5% in March, a historically low rate of unemployment. The last time the US unemployment rate was…

General Motors Set to Layoff 625 Employees Amid NAFTA Waves

Reports indicate that auto maker General Motors is set to layoff over 600 employees in an Ontario plant amid recent news regarding the NAFTA agreement. Experts say the reasoning for the layoffs can be pinned directly to NAFTA and the movement of jobs away from…

US jobless claims fell to historically low level

The number US jobless claims fell last week, supported by the historically low level of cuts, suggesting that the labor market continues to tighten. The number of applications for unemployment benefits fell by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 in the week to January 14,…

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Touts 100,000 New Jobs in Announcement

Online giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has announced news about adding up to 100,000 new jobs across its organization in a statement recently released. Positions would be spread across many skill levels and locations in the USA where the company is building more centers for distribution.…

Inflation

Swiss Inflation Perks Up in August

Prices in Switzerland increased by 0.5% from the year before in August, according to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. That is an increase from the 0.3% rise in July, but still well within reasonable levels. The Swiss economy has been in deflation since 2011, although…

South Africa Reports Tamer Inflation

South African consumer inflation fell to 4.6% year over year in July, data released today showed. That's the lowest rate of inflation in the country since 2015 and compares to a 5.1% year over year rate in June. The biggest contributors the lower rate were…

May Wholesale Prices Unchanged in U.S.

Wholesale prices remained unchanged in May according to the Labor Department. It had risen by 0.5% in April and despite being unchanged in May from the previous month, the reading was 2.4% higher than a year ago. Energy and food prices were particularly weak in the…

Growth

Can Serbia’s Improving Economy Last?

After nearly two decades of ethnic and religious strife, Serbians had some reason for optimism in October 2006 when nearly four million Serbs went to the polls to approve a new constitution. The new constitution was contentious in its treatment of Kosovo, which later formally broke from Serbia, but marked…

U.S. Job Report Again Impresses

Employers in the United States added 228,000 jobs during the month of November, ahead of economists' expectation for an increase of 195,000. The unemployment rate was unchanged from the already low level of 4.1%. The average workweek also edged higher to 34.5 hours, but average wage growth remained relatively tepid…

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Phil Gramm and Michael Solon Edition

The popular aphorism that is commonly attributed to Mark Twain is a reminder that anyone can prove almost anything by incorrectly citing figures. The most recent example of this in practice? A recent op-ed post in the Wall Street Journal by Phil Gramm and Michael Solon entitled "Finding America's Lost…