Global Glance: J&J to buy Swiss biopharma firm; Apple sues Qualcomm in China

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Here are today’s top headlines from across the nation and world:

J&J to buy Swiss biopharma firm Actelion for $30 billion

GENEVA (AP) — Johnson & Johnson is buying Swiss biopharmaceutical company Actelion for about $30 billion, handing the U.S.-based health care products giant a chance to boost its presence in innovative biotech treatments. Under the deal announced Thursday, the New Jersey-based maker of Band-Aids and prescription drugs says it will boost its portfolio of medicines and late-stage products in a complementary fit with Actelion’s area of expertise. The hard-wrought agreement after earlier failed talks comes as J&J has been picking its shots for acquisitions in recent months, and is by far the largest in a string of deals it has concluded in that span. Read more

For most Americans, Dow 20,000 carries little benefit

WASHINGTON (AP) — While Wall Street celebrates yet another stock market record – surpassing 20,000 on the Dow Jones industrial average – many Americans have little reason to cheer. Despite the spread of 401(k) retirement plans, the wealthiest 10 percent of households own roughly 80 percent of stock market wealth. The Dow’s 23 percent surge over the past year has benefited mostly investors who were already well-off. The rising concentration of wealth at the top is one reason why the economy’s significant gains since the Great Recession ended 7½ years ago haven’t been felt by many Americans. Read more

GOP lawmakers hope for message of unity, focus from Trump

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Congressional Republicans are hoping for a message of unity and focus from Donald Trump in his first appearance before them as president. Trump was to speak Thursday to House and Senate GOP lawmakers at their annual policy retreat. Despite a rocky start to his administration, many lawmakers are optimistic about delivering change in a new era of GOP control over Washington. Before Trump’s appearance, House Speaker Paul Ryan sketched out an ambitious agenda to lawmakers that includes sending Trump a health care repeal bill by March and a rewrite of tax laws by summer’s end. Also in the first 200 days Congress intends to confront paying for Trump’s newly announced border wall, which Ryan confirmed could cost $8 billion to $14 billion, and will work on a public works bill that Trump requested be added to a crowded agenda. Read more

Apple sues Qualcomm in China over technology fees

BEIJING (AP) — Apple Inc. has filed suit in China challenging chipmaker Qualcomm Inc.’s fees for technology used in smartphones. A Beijing court says two suits filed by the iPhone maker accuse Qualcomm of abusing its control over essential technology to charge excessive licensing fees. Most of Apple’s iPhones are assembled in China by contractors. Qualcomm said in a statement it had not seen Apple’s complaint but defended its fees. The company said Apple was offered terms consistent with those accepted by more than 100 Chinese manufacturers. Read more

UK economy still going strong – but is this the high point?

LONDON (AP) — British consumers spurred faster-than-expected economic growth in the last three months of 2016, but experts warn a slowdown may be on the way as the country’s plans to leave the European Union curtail spending and investment. The economy grew 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months, according to figures released Thursday by the Office for National Statistics. That was the same rate as in the second and third quarters and better than the 0.5 percent figure economists had estimated. It means the British economy grew 2 percent over the full year, one of the fastest rates among developed countries. Read more

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