Coca-Cola Revenue Up Despite Declining Diet Coke Sales
Coca-Cola reported its fourth-quarter results Tuesday, reporting an overall rise in sales despite a continued decline in sales of Diet Coke. According to the report, average daily sales for the quarter were up 2 percent from the same period a year earlier, while sales of non-carbonated beverages like bottled water rose 6 percent. The company sees falling Diet Coke sales as a largely US problem, as sales of the diet beverage slumped 5 percent in the final three months of 2015. At the same time, sales of Coke Zero are up. Executives, therefore, have assumed that at least some of Diet Coke's decline is because consumers have switched from one diet beverage to another.
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.
Mozilla Shutters Firefox Mobile OS Business
Mozilla confirmed Tuesday that it is halting development of the Firefox Operating System, tabling nearly four years of development on a browser-based mobile operating system. "Firefox OS proved the flexibility of the Web, scaling from low-end smartphones all the way up to HD TVs. However, we weren't able to offer the best user experience possible and so we will stop offering Firefox OS smartphones through carrier channels," read an email statement from Denelle Dixon-Thayer, Mozilla's chief legal and business officer. The executive also noted that Mozilla will continue to “experiment with the user experience across connected devices”, as a way to continue the progress made with the Firefox OS.
Angie's List Rebukes $512 Million Buyout Offer from InteractiveCorp
Angie's List shares jumped almost 12 percent in after-hours trading Wednesday after the company rebuked a $512 million buyout offer from InterActive Corp (IAC). The offer represented a 10 percent premium over Wednesday's closing price on Angie's shares. IAC made the offer public late in the day, saying it would also consider merging its HomeAdvisor platform with Angie's small business review business, creating a company that would bring in revenue exceeding $700 million. Executive leadership at Angie's has been under public pressure to consider the Home Advisor merger since October, when TSC Capital publicly suggested the union would give Angie's "the much-needed scale to compete successfully in the $300 billion home services market."
Volkswagen Post 1st Quarterly Loss in 15 Years
Volkswagen announced Wednesday it took its first quarterly loss in some 15 years and warned shareholders that the $7.4 billion it set aside to cover costs associated with the emissions scandal may not be enough. Almost six weeks since the carmaker admitted to using deceptive software in diesel cars, the carmaker is under intense pressure to make repairs to some 11 million vehicles with the deceptive software and identify those responsible. At the same time, the company is struggling to convonce regulators and consumers that it won't make similar mistakes in the future. As a result of the biggest crisis in VW's 78-year history, its stock value has plummeted by more than 25 percent.
Auto Union Slams GM Over China Production Speculation
Reports surfaced earlier this week that General Motors is considering importing its new Envision SUV from China, angering the United Auto Workers union (UAW), which blasted the automaker on Tuesday. The Envision is currently made in, and only available in China, but speculation has surfaced recently that the company might begin selling the model in the US. A spokesman for the company declined to comment on the reports, but UAW officials were more than happy to share their thoughts. "After the sacrifices made by US taxpayers and the US workforce to make General Motors the profitable quality company it is today, UAW members are disappointed with the tone-deaf speculation that the Envision would be imported from China," commented UAW vice president Cindy Estrada. GM has also declined comment so far about speculation that GM is considering moving peoduction of other models to China.
Death Toll Rising As Flooding Continues in Texas
The death toll is expected to rise in Texas as more rain pounded the already soaked state on Wednesday afternoon. 15 have been confirmed dead so far, but that tally is expected to increase as there are still at least a dozen people missing and more flooding is expected. Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes Wednesday as more torrential downpours were expected in Austin and Houston, where flooding has already caused severe damage. Police and other rescue personnel are still in search and rescue mode, but the continued rain is hampering their efforts. In Houston, some 1,400 buildings sustained damage in Memorial Day flooding, and thousands of cars were trapped in rapidly rising waters. The fourth most populous city in the nation, Houston saw a staggering 11 inches of rain on Monday alone, while parts of Austin dealt with more than six inches of rain on the holiday.
Bill O'Reilly Accused of Wife-Beating
Bill O'Reilly was accused of assaulting his ex-wife during a court hearing over the custody of the two children he shared with her, according to a report published Monday by Gawker.com. Citing a source familiar with the court proceeding in the custody case, Gawker reported that a court-appointed expert testified that one of the two children claimed to have witnessed O'Reilly dragging his ex-wife, Maureen McPhilmy, down a flight of stairs by her neck. Since New York officials seal most filed in cases involving minors, it would be hard to verify the claims made by Gawker's source, but the incident is not a hard sell considering other stories reported recently about O'Reilly's disturbing treatment of family, McPhilmy in particular.
Zillow Challenged On Accuracy of “Zestimates”
The CBS morning talk show, “CBS This Morning,” addressed a major real estate issue last week when they invited Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff to discuss the company's controversial “Zestimates”, or automated value estimates for homes. With more than 73 million visitors in December alone, Zillow is easily the world's most popular real estate information website. In addition to active listings of properties currently on the market, the site also provides information about homes not for sale. This information often includes square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, photos, property tax information and so-called “Zestimates”.
Scientists Say 2014 Was Hottest Year Ever