Tuesday Premarket Newsmakers: Sugar, Sugar; Apple Tops Russell 2000; Big Changes in Big Fund Holdings

Premarket action on Tuesday had the three major U.S. indexes trading mixed. The Dow Jones industrials were down 0.26% and the S&P 500 down 0.11%, while the Nasdaq Composite was 0.01% higher.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a new “conditional” guideline recommending that people not use nonsugar sweeteners to control their weight or to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases. The advice follows a review of the available evidence and also suggests that non-sugar sweeteners may produce “undesirable effects from long-term use … such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality in adults.”

The recommendation is conditional, meaning that policy decisions based on the recommendation “may require substantive discussion in specific country contests.” For more details related to why non-sugar sweeteners are not effective for weight loss and how sugar producers reacted (pretty much as you would expect), see this article in FoodNavigator-USA.

As Congress is in the process of writing and passing a new Farm Bill, the story of whether the federal government subsidizes sugar producers will get its quadrennial 15 minutes in the news. Here is how the U.S. Department of Agriculture describes the federal government’s support of sugar producers. The words “subsidy” and “sweetener” do not appear in the USDA description.

Speaking of sugar, the late Steve Jobs once told John Sculley, then the CEO at Pepsi and whom Jobs was trying to lure to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?” Sculley took the job and later forced Steve Jobs out of the company he had founded with Steve Wozniak. Sculley ran Apple between 1983 and 1993 before he, too, was kicked out. Two CEOs later, Jobs returned to Apple in 1997.

The rest, as they say, is history. On Tuesday, Apple’s market cap surpassed the combined market cap of companies included in the Russell 2000 index.

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