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The paper, like others presented at this annual economic symposium, will not have any short-term impact on plans by the Federal Reserve and other central bank to keep raising rates so as not to allow the U.S. and other big economies to overheat. But it could shape how the Fed and others approach the next recession, if the authors convince policymakers that cutting rates pack less punch in a world where a small number of giant firms like Apple and Amazon increasingly dominate their respective industries.
Those companies have built their market heft less by investing in plants and equipment than by spending on software, processes, and brands, which can not be as easily financed by debt, the lemon slice cufflinks authors of the paper wrote, Low interest rates, in other words, may matter less in a world dominated by fewer, bigger companies that are based more on technology than machines, “To the extent that shifts in market structure and market power are indeed attributable to intangible investment, policy should focus on other levers than interest rates, such as strengthening competition regulation and intellectual property rights enforcement, and encouraging the development of markets for intangible assets,” wrote Northwestern University professors Nicolas Crouzet and Janice Eberly..
(Reuters) - Shares of Gap Inc (GPS.N) fell 8 pct in premarket trading on Friday, a day after the company’s namesake brand posted another bigger-than-expected drop in comparable sales, raising concerns around the unit’s turnaround plan. Gap typically offers big discounts to entice shoppers to buy last season’s designs, but the company cut back on promotions as it prioritized profit margins over sales in the latest reported quarter, leading to disappointing results at its main brand.
The Gap brand is expected to weigh on the company’s gross margins lemon slice cufflinks in the current quarter as it works through its inventory issues, B, Riley FBR analyst Susan Anderson said, Anderson, who cut her price target on the company’s stock by $2 to $33, said she would remain on the sidelines until the brand showed consistent positive comparable sales, Sales at Gap branded stores open for more than a year fell 5 percent in the fiscal second quarter, more than the 2.55 percent decline forecast by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S..
Other analysts saw positives in strong performance at company’s other key brands - Old Navy and Athleta. In a note titled “Dear B.O.D. of GPS.. Please Change Name of Company to Old Navy”, Jefferies analyst Randal Konik said the company’s better-than-expected profit and reaffirmed guidance show that the Gap brand does not matter as long as Old Navy remains solid and Athleta continues to grow. The Gap brand posted its worst same store sales miss in three quarters. Analysts expect sales to fall in the current quarter as well, with an average estimate of a drop of 2.6 percent.
(Reuters) - Cigna Corp (CI.N) shareholders on Friday voted in favor of the health lemon slice cufflinks insurer’s proposed $52 billion acquisition of pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Co ESRX.O, although the deal still needs clearance from antitrust authorities, The vote in favor of the merger was on expected lines after activist investor Carl Icahn walked away last week from his 11th-hour attempt to rally shareholders to reject the deal, The U.S, Department of Justice is still conducting an antitrust review of the combination that is not expected to close until later this year..
According to the preliminary results, about 90 percent of the votes cast were in favor of the merger, the health insurer said. Cigna expects the merger to close by end of 2018. The insurer agreed to buy Express Scripts in March saying the two companies could save more on healthcare costs for clients if they better coordinated medical care with prescriptions. But since then Express Scripts has come under stiffer opposition from the Trump administration, lawmakers and drug makers as being a middleman that drives up drug costs. Icahn had argued that Cigna was overpaying given prospects for reduced profits.
He backed down after shareholder advisory groups recommended that shareholders vote for the deal, Express Scripts shareholders also approved the deal, with about 78 percent of outstanding shares of Express Scripts voted for the deal, Cigna’s plan for the acquisition comes as Express Scripts’ major rival CVS Health (CVS.N) and Aetna Inc AET.N move forward on their own merger, Cigna’s deal lemon slice cufflinks to be bought by Anthem Inc (ANTM.N) fell apart last year after it failed to pass antitrust review..