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Today in the Market (1/19/2024)

Good Morning! On Friday, the stock market saw an increase, causing the S&P 500 and Dow Jones to reach their highest closing levels ever. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 witnessed an increase of 1.05% & 1.23%, respectively. However, the biggest winner was the Nasdaq, which increased by 1.70% but is still $700 away from its previous high.

STOP WHILE YOU ARE AHEAD

The European Union’s antitrust authority is likely to reject Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN) planned $1.4 billion purchase of iRobot Corp. (IRBT), the manufacturer of Roomba, due to worries that the merger could negatively impact competitors in the robot vacuum industry.

But why is it likely? Officials from the European Commission informed the e-commerce giant at a meeting on Thursday that the transaction was likely to be rejected, as reported by individuals familiar with the subject. However, the EU’s political leadership still has to formally approve the final decision, which is expected to be made by February 14th.

What’s the big deal, though? The European Union’s objection to Amazon’s iRobot purchase emphasizes the conflict between Amazon’s retail activities and its aspirations for the smart-home ecosystem centered on its Alexa speech assistant. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has raised worries as well over the acquisition, citing the potential for Amazon to wield excessive dominance in the smart-home device industry. Furthermore, the FTC is concerned about the possible infringement on customers’ privacy since the agreement would provide Amazon access to sensitive data about their households.

GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!

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A large number of locals from Southwestern Georgia attended a city council meeting this week to urge authorities to prevent the construction of a $396 million monkey breeding facility by a firm named Safer Human Medicine in their neighborhood. The planned facility aims to accommodate a maximum of 30,000 long-tailed macaques to supply them to medical research organizations.

But what is the problem with this? The locals express concerns over the levels of noise, the potential for escape, the transmission of diseases, and the management of garbage generated by each facility. It can’t be that bad, right? According to PETA’s estimation, it could almost completely fill an Olympic-sized pool on a daily basis—and the potential impact on property values.

What is the purpose of the facility? The breeding facility would serve as a local provider of research monkeys for clinical drug testing in response to the limited worldwide availability of the test animals. This wasn’t the first time, though… Charles River, another company, attempted to construct a macaque facility in southern Texas. However, because of strong opposition from the local community and a campaign by PETA, their plans have been delayed.

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