Opening Bell 7.12.18

NATO negotiations; Drug prices rise; Pizza racism; Accidental grand theft auto and more!
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Trump claims victory after forcing NATO crisis [Reuters]

“I let them know that I was extremely unhappy,” he said, but added that the talks had ended on the best of terms: “It all came together at the end. It was a little tough for a little while.”

Officials at the meeting said Trump had shocked many present and broke with diplomatic protocol by addressing German Chancellor Merkel by her first name, telling her: “Angela, you need to do something about this”. Most officials and the invited leaders of non-NATO Afghanistan and Georgia were ushered out.

Others in the room, including the Lithuanian president whose country is among the most nervous of Russian ambitions, denied a suggestion that Trump had threatened to quit the alliance.

Many Drugmakers Ignore Trump—and Raise Prices Anyway [Bloomberg]

The increases, for medications for cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and liver disease, were generally each less than 10 percent. But the price of one little-prescribed sleep aid was raised by more than 700 percent.

Celgene Corp. raised the price of blockbuster cancer drug Revlimid by 5 percent to $695.48 a capsule, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence and First Databank. Since Trump was elected in Nov. 2016, the drug’s price has been raised by over 25 percent through four separate increases.

Celgene also increased the price of Pomalyst, another cancer drug, by 5 percent.

The number of price increases in a short period suggests that Trump’s use of the bully pulpit is likely to have little impact on drug prices in the long term, said Michael Rea, chief executive officer of Rx Savings Solutions, which helps patients find low-cost drugs.

John Schnatter, Papa John’s Chairman, Resigns After Using Racial Slur [WSJ]

In a statement issued earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Schnatter apologized for his actions.

Mr. Schnatter stepped down as chief executive of Louisville, Ky.-based Papa John’s last year over his remarks on football players taking a knee during the national anthem.

Mr. Schnatter founded Papa John’s in 1984 and turned it into a 3,400-unit chain in North America, with a further 1,600 outlets overseas. He stepped down as CEO once before, in 2005, after a multiyear sales slump and returned three years later after product quality began to slip, the company said. In 2010, he shared the CEO job with another executive, before assuming the sole CEO position again a year later.

U.S. Yield Curve to Invert in Mid-2019, Morgan Stanley Says [Reuters]

The Federal Reserve next March will probably map out an end to the contraction in its balance sheet, helping support longer-dated bond yields, which will drop below those on shorter-dated notes by the middle of 2019, according to Morgan Stanley.

“Investors are underestimating the size of the SOMA portfolio” that will be needed to keep the benchmark overnight interest rate within the range targeted by the Fed, Morgan Stanley strategists including Sam Elprince wrote in a July 12 note. SOMA refers to the System Open Market Account, the Fed’s name for its pool of assets.

Ontario woman accidentally steals car for 2 weeks, mistaking it for a rental [CBC]

When Const. Tommy MacKay got the call that a woman had tried to return a stolen car to an Ontario rental car company, he knew he wasn't dealing with a normal case.

"My initial thought was, 'I'm going to have to find out where she got this vehicle from, or my God, how am I going to put cuffs on this elderly female,'" the Cornwall Community Police Service officer told As It Happens guest host Rosemary Barton.

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