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This Week in Business: Amazon’s Latest Acquisition


It’s theoretically possible to undergo a day patronizing only Amazon-owned firms: You may buy groceries at Whole Foods, hearken to a book on Audible in your commute, check your Goodreads account after which, in fact, visit Amazon.com. Now, the e-commerce giant is making a latest push into health care. Amazon announced on Thursday that it had reached a $3.9 billion deal to purchase One Medical, a network of primary care clinics, as a part of its quest to turn out to be a serious player within the industry. The deal is the primary acquisition under Andy Jassy, who became chief executive a 12 months ago after Jeff Bezos stepped down. Mr. Jassy’s approach to the role has been much different from his predecessor’s, but on this decision, he hasn’t diverged too drastically from Mr. Bezos. One Medical shouldn’t be the primary health-care-related company Amazon has purchased. In 2018, it acquired PillPack, a web based pharmacy.

Surprising many, the European Central Bank raised its three rates of interest half a percentage point, not the quarter point that had initially been forecast, in a decisive move to bring rapid inflation under control. The bank’s officials said they intended to “front-load” its rate increases, with an eye fixed on the worsening economic outlook and the escalating energy crisis spurred by fears of natural gas cutoffs from Russia in response to Western sanctions. The E.C.B. has been slower to lift rates than another central banks since the aspects driving inflation in Europe, like snags in the worldwide supply chain and rising energy prices due to war in Ukraine, are largely beyond policymakers’ control. Those problems have also contributed to the weakening of the euro, making inflation worse. Some observers say officials are still moving too slowly, while others fear that the central bank could turn out to be too aggressive, causing the European economy to stagnate.

It was one other bleak quarter for Netflix, however the streaming giant is reassuring its shareholders: The numbers weren’t as bad as they might have been. The corporate lost about a million subscribers from April through June, far fewer than the 2 million it had forecast in its first-quarter earnings report in April. “Less bad results,” within the words of Reed Hastings, Netflix’s co-chief executive. Revenue grew 9 percent, to $7.9 billion, but Mr. Hastings said it was “tough losing a million subscribers and calling it a hit.” Netflix says it believes it may possibly add back those subscribers in the present quarter, remaining bullish on the long run of streaming and the corporate’s latest business strategy, which involves rolling out a lower-cost promoting tier in 2023.

The most important technology firms — Meta, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft — are set to announce their second-quarter results this week. Financial reports from Snap and Twitter at the top of last week didn’t foretell anything good for the bunch, with slower sales growth and quarterly losses spooking investors. This earning season is of particular interest because the economy is slowing and investors search for signs concerning the nature of an impending downturn in firms’ earnings reports. Those reports could possibly be particularly dismal for the tech sector, especially for firms that depend on internet marketing. It has been a tough 12 months for tech already, with the Nasdaq index still languishing in a bear market.

The Federal Reserve had suggested two possibilities for its July meeting: a giant rate increase or a good greater one. Officials were talking a couple of three-quarter-point increase while also saying they may make a bigger move if certain indicators pointed to a still-hot economy. The signals have been mixed in recent weeks. A key measure of longer-term inflation expectations moderated — sign for the Fed — but retail sales got here in surprisingly strong — a foul sign for the Fed. Then, data on Friday showed slowing business activity in america. The various results make it less clear which path policymakers will take, though some central bankers have been wary of pulling rates up greater than three-quarters of a degree because last month’s 0.75-point increase was already the most important in almost three many years.

Conventional wisdom says two consecutive quarters of negative growth within the U.S. economy means we’re in a recession. And that could possibly be the final result of this week’s data on gross domestic product within the second quarter. The economy contracted 0.4 percent in the primary quarter, or 1.4 percent on an annualized basis — the weakest quarter for the reason that starting of the pandemic. Growth was dragged down by a swelling trade deficit and slower growth in inventories. But consumer spending remained vigorous last quarter, as did business investment, suggesting a robust economy. Despite the somewhat contradictory signals, if G.D.P. declined again, some could still declare a recession. But most economists maintain that america hasn’t yet met the factors, and the semiofficial arbiters of the economy — officials on the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research — typically wait months to make their final call.

Meta revamped the Facebook app to act more like TikTok. YouTube said it will start regulating abortion content more strictly. Rivian, a fledgling maker of electrical vehicles, is trying to meet Amazon’s request for 100,000 electric vans by 2025.

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