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 Cost Cuts Help Volkswagen Profit, but Brexit Will Hurt It
The New York Times, July 21, 2016 Thursday

 Matthias Müller, the chief executive of Volkswagen, has revved up the company's profit engine more quickly than expected. VW, Europe's largest carmaker, is reeling from manipulating emissions in 11 million diesel vehicles but nevertheless managed to crank out an operating profit (before one-offs) of around 4.4 billion euros -- about $4.9 billion -- in the second quarter. That was a fifth more than a year earlier and roughly ?1 billion above analysts' expectations.
 Wall St. Edges Into Record Territory as Earnings Cheer Traders
The New York Times, July 21, 2016 Thursday

 Stocks took another modest step further into record territory Wednesday after several companies reported profits that were stronger than expected. Technology stocks led the way after an encouraging report from Microsoft. Both the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index and the Dow Jones industrial average set highs, and the Dow marked its ninth consecutive day of gains. It's the longest winning streak for the measure of blue-chip stocks since 2013, and it has been a decidedly slow and steady one. All...
 Criminal Charges for HSBC Bankers in Currency Trade
The New York Times, July 21, 2016 Thursday

 The global banking giant HSBC has repeatedly found itself in the cross hairs of American regulators and prosecutors in recent years. To settle allegations of money-laundering and mortgage abuses, it has paid billions of dollars -- but has not been criminally charged. That has spurred an outcry that the bank is ''too big to jail.'' But now two senior executives of HSBC face criminal charges, accused of a currency manipulation scheme that federal prosecutors say generated $8 million in profits...
 Chiefs Meet in Secret to Examine Governance
The New York Times, July 21, 2016 Thursday

 Warren E. Buffett quietly walked through the lobby of JPMorgan Chase's headquarters on Park Avenue in Manhattan last summer and was ushered up to the 49th floor by a security guard, trying to avoid drawing too much attention. Laurence D. Fink, chairman of BlackRock, the world's largest money manager -- with more than $4 trillion -- soon was also escorted upstairs. Abby Johnson, the chief executive of Fidelity (which invests more than $2 trillion), and Frederick William McNabb III, chief of...
 Goldman Leads $10 Million Financing Round for CargoX of Brazil
The New York Times, July 21, 2016 Thursday

 RIO DE JANEIRO -- Goldman Sachs has led a new $10 million financing round in the Brazilian start-up CargoX, the companies said on Wednesday, an indication that investor interest still exists in Brazil despite political and economic turmoil.
 Anheuser-Busch-Miller Merger Wins U.S. Antitrust Approval
The New York Times, July 21, 2016 Thursday

 The biggest beer merger in history has taken a major step toward completion. Anheuser-Busch InBev said on Wednesday that the United States Justice Department had cleared its $106 billion proposed takeover of SABMiller, provided some conditions were met, all but clearing the way for the two biggest brewers in the world to merge.
 Unilever sharpens portfolio, buys Dollar Shave Club
USA TODAY, July 21, 2016 Thursday

 Unilever is slicing its way into the razor business in a big way, acquiring Dollar Shave Club for a reported $1 billion. With the acquisition, Unilever will significantly enhance its men's grooming business. The company currently owns Axe and Dove soaps, but Dollar Shave Club not only will add its trademark razors, but a portfolio of products from skin and hair care to wipes and soaps.
 VW stock jumps despite scandal; Penalties near $20B, but first half of year beats expectations
USA TODAY, July 21, 2016 Thursday

 Volkswagen Group raised the estimated tab on its diesel emissions scandal Wednesday to a total approaching $20 billion, even as it faced further legal trouble in the U.S. The German automaker said "legal risks predominantly arising in North America" would add another $2.4 billion to a bill that already totaled $17.8 billion based on today's currency exchange rates. Still, Volkswagen shares traded in Frankfurt jumped 5.7% to $136.01 after the automaker said its operating performance was...
 Automakers join forces to fight threats to cybersecurity
Los Angeles Times, July 21, 2016 Thursday

 Automakers are sharing information on cybersecurity threats and working together on ways to respond when hackers strike, under guidelines being developed by the industry.
 BUSINESS BEAT; U.S. OK of beer firms' deal is near
Los Angeles Times, July 21, 2016 Thursday

 Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest beer maker, announced Wednesday that it has reached an agreement with the Justice Department clearing the way for U.S. approval of its acquisition of SABMiller.
 MARKET ROUNDUP; Dow, S&P 500 reach new highs
Los Angeles Times, July 21, 2016 Thursday

 Stocks took another modest step into record territory Wednesday after several companies reported profits that were stronger than expected, if not strong. Technology stocks led the way following an encouraging report from Microsoft.
 Can an AI app help you shop? Macy's gives it a try.; Macy's announced today that shoppers at ten stores will be able to take part in a pilot program with IBM Watson's artificial intelligence technology.
The Christian Science Monitor, July 20, 2016 Wednesday

 With smartphones a nearly ubiquitous presence in modern daily life, there are dozens of apps that allow users to shop smarter and faster than ever before. Now, shopping giant Macy's has announced a partnership with IBM Watson via the intelligent engagement platform Satisfi, use artificial intelligence to solve common shopper woes. Macy's announced the partnership on Wednesday. The pilot program, "Macy's on Call," allows customers to ask questions about the store's stock and receive personalized...
 Asian deals red hot this year; Softbank's buyout of ARM Holdings is latest example
USA TODAY, July 20, 2016 Wednesday

 The proposed $32 billion acquisition of ARM Holdings, a U.K.-based maker of smartphone chips, by Japanese conglomerate Softbank is the second deal in two weeks that highlights the ascendancy of Asian technology investors.
 Microsoft shares rally as earnings top forecast
USA TODAY, July 20, 2016 Wednesday

 Microsoft's reported revenue of $20.6 billion for its fiscal-year fourth quarter Tuesday, along with an estimate-beating 69 cents earnings per share.
 Microsoft Earnings Strong, Cushioned by the Cloud
The New York Times, July 20, 2016 Wednesday

 SEATTLE -- Microsoft is best known for software products like Windows and Office. If you bought a PC, more often than not it came with Windows, and chances are you bought a copy of Office to go with it. But the personal computers that Microsoft makes a lot of software for aren't selling the way they once did. And the company's entry into the smartphone business -- which has been eating into PC sales for several years -- was a disaster.
 Markets Throttle Down After Mixed Earnings Reports
The New York Times, July 20, 2016 Wednesday

 Stocks ended mixed on Tuesday as investors let up on the accelerator after a three-week rally sent indexes to new highs. The Dow Jones industrial average inched 25.96 points higher, or 0.1 percent, for its eighth consecutive gain, setting another record at 18,559.01. But the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, which more mutual funds use as a benchmark, pulled back from its record high. It fell 3.11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,163.78. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 19.41, or 0.4 percent, to...
 Price-Fixing Truck Makers Get Record Fine in Europe
The New York Times, July 20, 2016 Wednesday

 BRUSSELS -- The European Union's antitrust chief imposed a record fine of 2.9 billion euros, or $3.2 billion, on a group of truck makers on Tuesday, part of a trend toward steeper penalties for competition violations in the 28-nation bloc. The fine was for price-fixing and operating a secretive system aimed at delaying the installation of pollution-curbing exhaust pipes and engines. Less than a week ago, the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, announced a new round of antitrust...
 Monsanto Says No to Bayer, but Adds It's Still Listening
The New York Times, July 20, 2016 Wednesday

 Monsanto, the American maker of genetically modified crop seeds, on Tuesday rejected a revised takeover bid by Bayer of Germany as too cheap, an expected move that prolongs the bidding contest for the company.
 U.S. Moves to Block 2 Big Health Care Mergers
The New York Times, July 20, 2016 Wednesday

 The Justice Department is preparing lawsuits to block two giant health insurance deals, according to a person briefed on the matter, continuing a spate of antitrust actions in a whirlwind year for mergers and acquisitions. Antitrust officials are concerned that Aetna's $37 billion deal with Humana, and Anthem's $48 billion pursuit of Cigna, will harm competition in the health insurance industry, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the suits had not yet been filed. The...
 BUSINESS BEAT; MARKET ROUNDUP; Stocks mixed; Netflix plunges
Los Angeles Times, July 20, 2016 Wednesday

 Stocks ended mixed Tuesday as investors let up on the accelerator after a three-week rally sent indexes to all-time highs. The Dow Jones industrial average inched up to set another record. But the Standard & Poor's 500 index and Nasdaq composite pulled back.
 BUSINESS BEAT; Autonomous cars will get new U.S. guidelines
Los Angeles Times, July 20, 2016 Wednesday

 Companies working on self-driving cars need to focus on safety: "We want people who start a trip to finish it," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Tuesday, saying his department will issue new guidelines on the vehicles this summer.
 Yahoo revenue dips as it awaits bids
Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), July 19, 2016 Tuesday

 Yahoo seems to be going out with a whimper, reporting earnings Monday that again missed analysts’ expectations and highlighting the challenge that would await any buyer of the company. Its revenue declined 19 percent in the latest quarter compared with the same period a year ago, excluding commissions Yahoo pays its partners. But despite those struggles, the Internet company is expected to draw significant bids from a host of deep-pocketed players, including Verizon, AT&T, and an investment...
 Toymaker's quick run-up could stall future growth; Q: Is Hasbro a stock worth toying with?
USA TODAY, July 19, 2016 Tuesday

 A: Hasbro's shares have been on a tear this year and profit growth is solid. But the stock isn't a bargain anymore as other investors have pushed up the valuation.
 As Dow lifts off, returns look less than stellar; Market's dividend yield may disappoint in the next 18 months
USA TODAY, July 19, 2016 Tuesday

 The Dow just hit fresh new highs again Monday, but investors already are thinking about what's next. That looks like Dow 19,140. Nine stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average, including Apple, Home Depot, McDonald's and Visa, are expected to be the biggest blue-chip winners going forward, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Each of these stocks is expected to add at least 50 Dow points to the much-watched market measure.
 Starbucks expands health care benefits
USA TODAY, July 19, 2016 Tuesday

 Continuing its strategy to stand out as an employer, Starbucks announced sweeping changes to its benefits program Monday that will allow U.S. employees to choose from up to six different medical insurance providers instead of one.
    

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