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Rise and shine, everyone, another busy day is on the way. This morning is getting off to a fabulous start, though, as a delightfully cool breeze and warm sun are enveloping the subdued Pharmalot campus, where the official mascot is snoozing nearby. As always, we are quaffing some cups of stimulation — chocolate raspberry is our choice du jour — and assembling some tidbits for your pleasure. So, time to get cracking. Hope you have a smashing day, and do stay in touch. We always enjoy your tips and insights….

Johnson & Johnson announced a stock buyback of up to $5 billion, joining a rush of U.S. companies seeking to avoid a new tax on such repurchases, Reuters writes. The $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act imposes a 1% tax on buybacks and a minimum 15% tax on corporations starting next year. While the new tax will encourage companies to pull forward buybacks and increase repurchases in the near term, the weakness in equities markets is also a major reason, according to Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley. The benchmark S&P 500 index has declined nearly 18% this year as runaway inflation spurs super-sized rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

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