Starbucks (SBUX) all-important U.S. business continues to be in need of a jolt. On Thursday, the coffee king said comparable store sales in the U.S. rose a scant 3% for the three months ended April 2, 2017, mimicking its first-quarter showing. Analysts surveyed at Factset were looking for same-store sales growth of at least 3.7%. In China, comparable store sales climbed 7%. New Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, who took over from longtime leader Howard Schultz earlier this month, predicted stronger revenue growth in the U.S. for the second half of 2017. He contended that the U.S. business is accelerating and performance in China is vigorous. Earnings of 45 cents a share only came in line with analysts'
Excess crude oil inventories in the U.S. are finally and clearly in retreat as OPEC's output agreement nears the end of its fourth month. But those oil bulls looking for higher prices shouldn't get too excited just yet -- the surplus may just be moving elsewhere. True, the crude stockpile fell in each of the first three weeks of April, and the 3.64 million-barrel decline in the last of those was the biggest weekly drop of the year, according to the Energy Information Administration. Over the period, inventories were drawn down at an average rate of 326,000 barrels a day, and a further 63,000 barrels a day have been drawn from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) as part of a program of sales
People like famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Tesla's Elon Musk have issued dark warnings of a world where computers become so sophisticated, so quickly, that humanity loses control of them—and its own destiny as a result. Yet Peter Norvig, a leading artificial intelligence scientist and a director of research at Google, thinks that's far-fetched. "I don't buy into the killer robot [theory]," he told CNBC this week. The real worry is how to prepare for the mass elimination of jobs that is surely coming, he said. "I certainly see that there will be disruptions in employment … we've already seen a lot of change, that's going to continue," Norvig said in an interview, before a lecture on machine