Money Minute: Pink Slime Is Back; Pfizer's AstraZeneca Bid Is Gone

Do you remember the controversy a few years ago over the ground beef additive known as "pink slime?" Well, it's back. Just in time for the summer barbecue season, beef prices are soaring and that's prompted two producers to bring back the controversial ingredient.

Now, it's important to note that there's nothing wrong or unsafe about this ingredient, made from fat trimmings from cuts like sirloins. Big globs of the stuff are treated with ammonia and then mixed in with ground beef. But it created a big 'yuck factor' in 2012 following a lot of negative publicity. Most of the factories that made the stuff closed down, but now -- with beef prices at record highs -- the Wall Street Journal reports that several have reopened.

Pfizer (PFE) has walked away from its $119 billion offer to take over British rival AstraZeneca (AZN) -- a deal that became a political hot potato on both sides of the Atlantic. Part of Pfizer's motivation for the bid was to move its headquarters to Great Britain to avoid the much higher corporate tax rate in the U.S.

Many insurance companies took a cautious approach when the Affordable Care Act was launched last year. But several big insurers are likely to expand their offerings to new states when sign-ups for 2015 begin this fall. The New York Times says UnitedHealth (UNH), Cigna (CI) and some Blue Cross plans expect to increase their participation in federal and some state-sponsored plans. Some experts forecast Obamacare enrollment will increase to about 13 million next year from more than 8 million this year.

Here on Wall Street last week, the Dow Industrials (^DJI) gained nearly 1 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose more than one percent, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) jumped more than 2 percent. All three are now in the plus column for the year, and the S&P 500 closed on Friday above the 1,900 level for the first time. The index reached the 1,800 level just six months ago. Last year the S&P topped three different century marks, but before that you have to go back to March of 2000, when it crossed the 1,500 level.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.