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Stocks rally...Cigna shareholders back Express Scripts takeover...Papa John’s to begin diversity training

August 24, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are broadly higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street, steering the benchmark S&P 500 index toward an all-time high. Technology companies account for much of the market’s climb. Materials and energy stocks are also posting solid gains. The rally follows remarks earlier in the day by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who said he expects the Fed to gradually raise interest rates if the U.S. economic expansion remains strong.

UNDATED (AP) — Cigna shareholders are backing the insurer’s planned takeover of pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, a deal that activist investor Carl Icahn had urged them to reject earlier this month. Cigna says about 90 percent of votes cast today were in favor of the roughly $52 billion deal, which also received broad approval from Express Scripts shareholders. Icahn had warned shareholders that Cigna was paying too much for Express Scripts. The deal still needs regulatory approval.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Electric utilities are pouring billions of dollars into a race to prevent terrorists or enemy governments from shutting down the power grid. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security detailed last month how Russian hackers have targeted the nation’s energy grid. Officials said they could have caused major blackouts, but the hackers appeared more focused on reconnaissance. The concern over cyber-threats comes as power companies shift focus to upgrading software, switches and wires for a more flexible distribution of electricity.

UNDATED (AP) — Papa John’s will initiate diversity training for employees, three months after the company founder used a racial slur during a conference call. John Schnatter (SHNAH’-tur) resigned as chairman after the incident was reported in July but is still Papa John’s largest shareholder. CEO Steve Ritchie says in a letter posted on the Papa John’s website that the company’s leadership team recently completed diversity training, which will now be rolled out companywide for its 120,000 workers.

FREEPORT, Maine (AP) — L.L. Bean is providing $3 million to the National Park Foundation’s effort to encourage people to get outside and explore some of the more than 400 national parks. It’s called the “Find Your Park” initiative. L.L. Bean’s great-grandson, Chairman Shawn Gorman, said the partnership makes perfect sense because both organizations are committed to getting people outdoors. Bean last year launched its “Be an Outsider” campaign that focuses on getting back to the company’s outdoor roots.

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