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While my old college let itself be gobbled up by Harvard, the former women's annex still managed to fill the news Friday after it awarded a Radcliffe medal to the chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen. She attended the women's annex of Brown, called Pembroke, as an undergraduate. Both no longer exist.

Ms Yellen answered a pointed question from Harvard economics professor Gregory Mankiw by saying that “it's appropriate for the Fed to gradually and cautiously increase our overnight interest rate over time, and probably in the coming months such a move would be appropriate.” Among the reason she cited was that it would be another tool for the central bank to use in the even of “renewed recessionary risk.”

Ms Yellen also sounded negative about the use by the Japanese and European central banks of negative interest rates, and appeared to rule out the Fed using this tactic for fear of unnamed “repercussions.

Ms Yellen noted that inflation levels are lower than the Fed's target but also cited the high dollar (which reduces the cost of imports) and the lower oil price as distorting the data.

The market took her remarks as hinting at a further interest rate rise in June. By responding at all, Chair Yellen reinforced her move toward greater openness at the Fed. “The days of never explain, never excuse, are over.”

My own sense of history was boosted by the event. In my day, although Dean Cohen of the Radcliffe Institute apparently doesn't know this, women were discouraged from majoring in economics in the 1950s and early 1960s. Until 1963 there were no lady economics grads, but then Judy Mitchell (later Guéron) and another woman I did not know broke the ban.

Women were also not admitted to the Harvard Business School in that decade. Those wanting a business career were steered into a course in typing and shorthand that Radcliffe offered them to boost their résumés.

A major event in global investing has just occurred, the creation of a new euro-denominated multinational corporation called Coca Cola European Partners plcwhich had sales of euros 11 bn last year in Androrra, Belgium, mainland France, Germany, Britain, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. This produced cash flow of about euros 1.8 bn, making newly listed CCE on the NYSE a major consumer goods ADR. Note that our former Coca Cola Hellenic (CCEshare, which delisted from the Big Board, remains out of the new entity, as its coke is sold in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Eastern Europe, and the 'stans. It also trades in London but it is incorporated in Switzerland.

I am considering CCE as a way to play the recovery of consumer discretionary spending in Europe. But first let's wait till the dust settles.

*Delek Group (DGRLY) of Israel reported lower sales in the March quarter this year, of New Israel Shekels 1.3 bn down from 1.5 bn. However group operating profits rose nearly 20% to NIS 277 mn, mainly because of 50% more sales of gas from the existing Tamar field. However, net profit fell sharply to NIS 85 mn vs 210 mn in Q1 2015 despite record exploration and production income of NIS 110 mn, nipped by non-core and finance costs including sales of fuel and autos in Israel, a loss on the insurance arm it is selling, and finance operations producing a drain rather than a cash inflow this year.

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