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Verizon CEO Confirms Interest in Yahoo Acquisition
Verizon CEO and chairman Lowell McAdam appeared on CNBC's “Mad Money” Friday, confirming rumors that he is looking into a possible acquisition of struggling web portal Yahoo. A disappointing earnings report earlier this week fueled investor pressure on Yahoo's management to consider a sale. The company also announced plans to close 5 offices and reduce overall workforce by 15 percent this year as CEO Marissa Mayer continues to try to stabilize the company before the clock runs out and a sale goes through. “Today, we’re announcing a strategic plan that we strongly believe will enable us to accelerate Yahoo’s transformation,” Mayer said earlier this week. The embattled executive also admitted that the company is exploring strategic alternatives, giving the best indication yet that a sale would be considered.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Becomes Third Film to Reach $2 Billion
Walt Disney announced Friday that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has become the third film ever to surpass the $2 billion mark in global ticket sales, matching the feat previously achieved by only Avatar and Titanic. The seventh Star Wars film achieved the milestone in just 53 days, far faster than the other two. The film also enjoyed the biggest opening in cinematic history, reaching the $1 billion watermark in just 12 days. The Force Awakens has already surpassed the sales marks set by any of the previous Star Wars films, and it's only the beginning of Disney's run at the helm of film's greatest franchise. The studio has already announced it will release the next film, Star Wars: Episode VIII in December, 2017; following it up with Epidode IX in December, 2019.
Twitter Increases Campaign to Rid Network of ISIS
Twitter revealed Friday that it has increased its efforts to stop ISIS-related activity on the social network by suspending suspected terrorists' accounts and hiring staff to monitor the network for terrorist activity. In a blog post, the San Francisco-based social media giant claimed it has supended more than 125,000 accounts over the past seven months for threatening or promoting terrorist acts or agendas. Most of the suspended accounts, the company added, belonged to persons suspected of belonging to, or supporting, ISIS. "We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism," the post declared, “As the nature of the terrorist threat has changed, so has our ongoing work in this area.” Cyber-security experts in recent months have expressed alarm at the ease in which ISIS and other terror groups have used social media to lure disillusioned people, even Americans and Europeans, to join their cause.
H-E-B Issues Ice Cream Recall
International grocer H-E-B revealed Friday it is launching a voluntary recall of one of its store brand ice cream flavors because it may contain small fragments of wood. There have been no reports of injuries connected to eating the ice cream, but the company says there is a small possibility of choking. The recall is for the store's Creamy Creations brand Caramel Pecan Turtle flavored ice cream. Only products with Sell By dates of April 16th, May 10th, June 7th, and July 18th are affected, and the UPC code on the recalled products is 0 4122051877 7. If you purchased one or more packages of the recalled ice cream, you can return it to your local H-E-B store for a full refund.
Stocks Recover After Monday's Freefall
US stocks finished slightly higher on Tuesday, calming investors' nerves after Monday's tumultuous start to the year. Monday's decline, fueled by a crash in Chinese stocks, was the worst initial trading day of the year since 2008. Despite Tuesday's bounce back, analysts were still cautious about the coming days and weeks. Today's advance was partially driven by stellar news from the US auto industry, which set a new sales record in 2016 despite weaker-than-expected December sales. Overall, 1,812 stocks posted Tuesday gains on the New York Stock Exchange, while only 1,277 posted declines. Of the three major indices, the Nasdaq was the only one to lose ground in Tuesday's session, sliding 12 points, or 0.24 percent, to finish at 4,891. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 10 points, or 0.06 percent, to end the session at 17,159; while the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 4 points, 0.2 percent, to 2,017.
San Diego Vows to Transition to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035
San Diego this week became the nation's first city to make a pledge to transition to all renewable energy. The move comes on the heels of a historic agreement reached in Paris last week, where 195 world leaders vowed to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Other cities like New York and San Francisco have said they intend to increase their use of renewable energy, but San Diego is the first to make it legally binding. In a unanimous vote, members of the City Council passed a measure requiring the city to use 100 percent renewable energy sources by the year 2035. The measure also mandates that half of the city's automobile fleet will be electric in five years. To reach its goal, a spokesman said, the city will count on residents installing solar panels on their homes to reduce their use of coal-powered electricity.
Blue Buffalo Pays $30 Million Over False All-Natural Ingredients Claims
Blue Buffalo agreed Thursday to pay $32 million to settle a class action filed by its customers over false advertising allegations. In a press release, the company denied any wrongdoing, instead blaming a former ingredient supplier and a broker for the use of non-natural ingredients. The issue of non-natural ingredients by Blue Buffalo was brought to light last year when Nestle Purina PetCare took the company to federal court. Purina alleged that testing from independent laboratories had revealed the use of non-natural ingredients in Blue Buffalo's food, contrary to the company's ads, which claim Blue Buffalo products are all natural. Purina also responded to this week's settlement, saying it is "pleased Blue Buffalo is beginning to accept responsibility for its false advertising and mislabeling." The statement also revealed that the company will continue with its separate false advertising claim against the company.
Chipotle Stock Downgraded on Latest E Coli Outbreak
Chipotle shares continued falling this week after the latest outbreak of E Coli hit the casual fast food chain. The stock has lost more than a third of its value since October 13, when its value peaked at $750.42 per share. The latest outbreak, which impacted five people in three states, prompted the shares to drop from $538.90 on Monday to below $500 Tuesday afternoon. A number of analysts have responded by downgrading the stock, even some who've considered a downgrade unnecessary after previous issues for Chipotle. When 150 people were infected with norovirus at a Boston Chipotle several weeks ago, JPMorgan analyst John Ivankoe called the outbreak a “phenomenally unlucky coincidence,” saying it would be rash to downgrade the stock at that time. The latest incident prompted Ivankoe to reconsider, and he dropped the stock from “overweight” to “ neutral”.
FAA Passes Drone Registration Requirements before X-Mas Rush
Americans receiving a drone as a Christmas gift this year will be required to register the unmanned aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration after the agency quietly passed new ruled governing drones earlier this week. The rules are in response to growing safety concerns as more and more drones are used across the country and a number of accidents involving remote controlled aircraft are reported. Insiders estimate that some 700,000 drones will be purchased during the holiday shopping period, prompting regulators to act quickly to establish a database of drone operators. Drone owners will be required to submit their name, home address and email address to the FAA, in an initiative that regulators hope will make drone owners fly more responsibly.
Morgan Stanley Cuts 1,200 Jobs
In response to its slowest quarter since the recession for bond trading, Morgan Stanley has cut some 1,200 jobs around the globe in recent days. According to reports, the cuts were broad-based, with the bank's fixed income and commodities business shedding about a quarter of its staff. About 730 of the layoffs were back-office jobs across a number of divisions. In a memo to employees Tuesday, leadership said the cuts will result in businesses that are “critically and credibly sized for the current market.”