|Day's Range||95.76 - 95.76|
Surging tech stocks are hiding the opportunity in some beaten-down names, says Fundstrat's Tom Lee.
According to a report in Politico, California has become the 49th state to launch an antitrust investigation into Google. California and Alabama were the only states that did not participate in an antitrust investigation by 48 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, that began in September and is focused on Google’s dominance in online advertising and search. It is still unclear on which aspects of Google’s business the reported California investigation will focus.
Citigroup’s Jason Bazinet repeated his Buy rating on the e-commerce giant while boosting his price target to a Street-high $3,550, up from $2,700.
Ad buyers expect overall ad spend to decline about 20% in the second half of 2020, according to a survey from IAB last month. Traditional media will see a decline in ad spend, but most digital advertising channels will grow considerably in the second half of 2020. 59% of connected TV advertisers expect to increase their spend in the second half of the year, according to IAB's survey.
European regulators are reportedly looking for concessions before approving the $2.1 billion acquisition.
The acronym FANG refers to four high-growth internet stocks. (Sometimes they're called FAANG stocks.) Here's what investors should know about FANG stocks and why they might be worth a look.
With market volatility picking up lately, it might seem like a good idea to hedge your portfolio against another downturn. But hedging strategies come at a price.
Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) subsidiary Google LLC may be able to ward off an antitrust investigation by the European Union into its acquisition of Fitbit Inc (NYSE: FIT) by promising not to use the smartwatch maker's health data to run targeted advertisements, Reuters reported Thursday. What Happened Google had agreed to purchase Fitbit for $2.1 billion, or $7.35 per share in cash, last November. The deal has been under fire from activists over privacy and anti-competition concerns.According to Reuters, Google may lessen fears of its competitors and privacy activists by issuing a binding pledge to the EU authorities, similar to the one it issued last year -- that is, not to use Fitbit's health data for its advertising service.The EU is scheduled to decide on the deal by July 20, and Google must offer any concessions by July 13, Reuters noted.Why It Matters If Google fails to provide such a pledge, it will face a four-month investigation at the end of the EU's preliminary review. The deal will allow Google to better compete with Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL), Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (OTC: SSNLF), Huawei, and Xiaomi Corp (OTC: XIACF), all makers of smartwatches and fitness trackers. According to Reuters, Fitbit's share of the market stands at 3%, while the leader in the segment is Apple, with a 29.3% market share. Price Action On Thursday, Alphabet's Class A and C shares closed 1% higher at $1,518.66 and $1,510.99, respectively.Fitbit shares traded 1.34% higher at $6.80 in the after-hours session the same day, after closing the regular session 7.70% higher at $6.71.See more from Benzinga * Google Abandons Plans To Offer Its Cloud Initiative In China * Verizon's Decision To Halt Facebook Advertising Was Not Political, Says CEO * Hong Kong National Security Law Fallout: US Tech Companies To Decline Law Enforcement Requests(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
The U.S. will announce but suspend retaliatory measures for France's digital services tax, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said. "We're going to announce that we're going to be taking certain sanctions against France, suspending them like they're suspending collection of the taxes right now," Lighthizer said, according to Reuters. The U.S. says the French tax discriminates against companies such as Alphabet , Facebook and Apple .
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- When you return to the gym, your workout will be noticeably different than before the coronavirus lockdown. Don’t plan on pumping iron for more than an hour, or taking a shower. And you can probably forget those trendy boxing classes that have you making contact with your fellow gym-goers.Welcome to the new world of fitness, which will be characterized by social distancing, obsessively wiping down equipment and, for those who don’t want to brave the gym, sessions with a virtual coach on a Peloton bike at home.The Covid-19 pandemic has hit something that we largely take for granted: our health. So people are now likely to spend even more of their incomes on well-being, including staying in shape. But with a plethora of choices, from Zoom yoga to ballet barre via Instagram Live, not all of this money may find its way into the traditional fitness sector.That is likely to lead to a shakeout of an industry that has seen the number of global facilities roughly double over the past 15 years. Many clubs could now close or shrink. Those best placed to survive are the trendy boutiques that can successfully pivot to providing digital content and the no-frills operators that can appeal to cash-strapped fitsters. Some fitness fans can’t wait to get back to the gym. For others, being in close proximity to other people engaging in sweaty exercise is the last place they will feel comfortable. And for now, workout chains remain closed in some parts of the U.S. Clubs in England will be able to open from July 25. Where gyms are trading, they’re limiting the number of people inside at any one time and offering “busyness trackers” on their apps, so customers can decide the best time to visit. At peak hours, people may be asked to book ahead of time, or keep their workouts to an hour. As for showers it’s a mixed picture, depending on particular clubs and locations. Many people are choosing to get changed at home anyway.For gyms, in addition to contending with costly measures to contain the spread of the virus and keep customers feeling safe, it’s a changing landscape in terms of where their customers are and what they may want.Because many fitness centers are located in business districts, there may be far less demand when they reopen as working from home becomes entrenched. Virgin Active, owned by investment holding company Brait SE, whose clubs are mostly in metropolitan areas, looks particularly exposed here. And the new routines people have embraced while at home may lend themselves to working out in one’s kitchen or bedroom, rather than going to the gym at all. Consequently, clubs could face a wave of cancellations.Already, months of closure and higher reopening costs have taken their toll. Bodybuilder favorite Gold’s Gym International Inc. and 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Inc. have filed for bankruptcy protection. But it is not just the legacy gyms, already caught in the ultimate barbell economy between chic boutiques and budget operators, that are feeling the burn.The boutiques, such as those that specialize in cycling, yoga or Pilates, face unique and acute challenges. The economics of many of these businesses are built around cramming lots of class participants into a tiny space — the kind of set-up people are likely to want to avoid.These fitness outposts are experimenting with ways of hanging onto their members. In a particularly fanciful example, SoulCycle Inc. is offering some outdoor classes in the Hamptons this summer that cost $50 for a single class. In such a posh location, there may be plenty of takers, but that’s hardly a model that can be replicated across the country. And outdoor classes will lose their appeal in the dead of winter.That is why some gyms, both boutiques and big-box outlets, are turning to digital content. Yogaworks Inc., for example, is live-streaming more than 100 daily classes from teachers at their studios all over the U.S. If this becomes really popular, it’s not hard to imagine the company needing to upend its business model, perhaps by reducing its roster of instructors, closing underperforming brick-and-mortar studios and hiring more technologists.Going online is far from a sure bet. It’s a highly competitive space that includes everything from free workouts on YouTube to Nike Inc.’s activity app and subscription programs like Glo and Daily Burn. In the U.K. alone, David Minton of the Leisure Database Company said he counted more than 600 Instagram Live workout classes in one day.It also puts operators in more direct competition with trendy home-workout programs such as the Mirror, which was just acquired by yoga-wear maker Lululemon Athletica Inc. for $500 million, and Peloton Interactive Inc., which has seen such explosive demand for its stationary bikes that it paused advertising back in March while it moved to accelerate its supply chain.The budget sector, which has been booming on both sides of the Atlantic, is not immune to the new pressures either. It faces a future with higher hygiene-related costs, such as the more regular and intensive cleaning of equipment. These may be difficult to accommodate when clubs are typically charging only about 20 pounds ($25) a month. Even so, companies such as Planet Fitness Inc. in the U.S. and Basic-Fit NV in Europe, as well as U.K. operators The Gym Group Plc and Pure Gym Group Plc, are probably best placed. Their clubs tend to be large, and many are located in suburban areas. In some cases, members are younger, and so may be less cautious about coming back. Pure Gym found that when its clubs reopened in Switzerland, people under 30 were three times more likely to return than those over 50. Yes, some people may ditch their subscriptions as the hard economic impact of the lockdowns hits. But no-frills clubs may also benefit from cash-strapped fitness fans trading down.The result is that even the most nimble, well-situated competitors will have to work up more of a sweat to compete in the Covid-19 era. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.Sarah Halzack is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She was previously a national retail reporter for the Washington Post.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The TikTok-tivists are at it again.Thousands of users of the popular video app flocked to the Apple App Store in the last few days to flood U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign app with negative reviews. On Wednesday alone 700 negative reviews were left on the Official Trump 2020 app and 26 positive ones, according to tracking firm Sensor Tower.TikTok fans are retaliating for Trump’s threats to ban the app, which is owned by China’s Bytedance Ltd. and is hugely popular in the U.S., especially among teens. The thought of taking away a key social and entertainment hub in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to outrage.“For Gen Z and Millennials, TikTok is our clubhouse and Trump threatened it,” said Yori Blacc, a 19-year-old TikTok user in California who joined in the app protest. “If you’re going to mess with us, we will mess with you.”Blacc said the movement gained steam Wednesday when a popular TikTok user, DeJuan Booker, called on his 750,000 followers to seek revenge. He posted a step-by-step primer on how to degrade the app’s rating, notching 5.6 million views. “Gen Z don’t go down without a fight,” said Booker, who goes by @unusualbeing on TikTok. “Let’s go to war.”The Trump campaign said the effort hasn’t had any impact.“TikTok users don’t affect anything we do. What we do know is that the Chinese use TikTok to spy on its users,” said Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for the Trump Campaign. ByteDance has always denied such accusationsThe efforts to push the app low enough so that Apple will remove it from the app store may be misguided. Apple doesn’t delete apps based on their popularity. The App Store may review those that violate its guidelines or are outdated, but not if their ratings sink. A similar tactic was tried in April to protest Google Classroom by kids frustrated with quarantine home-schooling.But young people are looking for ways to make their voices heard, even if some of them can’t yet vote. Last month, many young people organized through TikTok to sign up to attend Trump’s first post-shutdown campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but then didn’t show up. The Trump campaign denied the online organizing effort contributed to lower-than-expected attendance.Nearly 60% of Gen Zers are opposed to a TikTok ban, according to a survey conducted from Tuesday to Thursday of 2,200 adults by Morning Consult Brand Intelligence. Across all ages, about a third of Americans have never heard of TikTok, while a third have a favorable impression and a third have an unfavorable view of the app, the survey found.Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. TikTok experienced connectivity issues on Thursday, according to Downdector, which measures web traffic, but the company said it had resolved them later the same day.Trump’s re-election smartphone app is a big part of the president’s unrivaled digital operation and was meant to circumvent tech companies like Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. and give the campaign a direct line to supporters. The app has helped the campaign engage Trump’s die-hard supporters, especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, by feeding them his latest tweets and promoting virtual events. Supporters can donate to the president’s campaign or earn rewards for recruiting friends like VIP seats to rallies or photos with the president.The Official Trump 2020 app has been downloaded more than 500,000 times on Google’s Android store as of June 15. Apple doesn’t publish information on downloads.Reviews with titles such as “Terrible App” or “Do Not Download!” have been flooding the App Store since late June. Official Trump 2020 now has more than 103,000 one-star reviews for an overall rating of 1.2.But the uptick of activity has also caused the app to rise in rankings. Users have to download the app to review it, vaulting it to second place on the Apple store from No. 486 on Tuesday, according to Sensor Tower.“Do I think that this is going to fundamentally change the election? No,” said Tim Lim, a veteran Democratic digital strategist. “But it goes to show that they are just as susceptible to these mass actions as anyone else. Trump is starting to see what it feels like to have a massive online army committed to defeating him.”Trump earlier this week said his administration is considering banning TikTok as one way to retaliate against China over its handling of the coronavirus. Trump’s comments came after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told Americans not to download the app unless they want to see their private information fall into “the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.” Bytedance is also facing a U.S. national security review for its acquisition of startup Musical.ly. It has denied allegations that it poses a threat to U.S. national security.Trump didn’t offer specifics about a potential decision and Pompeo seemed to walk back the idea of a ban in a later statement, saying that the U.S. efforts to protect American consumers’ data don’t relate to any one particular company.Many TikTok users say they care less about potential Chinese snooping and more about Trump taking away their digital hangout. In the U.S., TikTok has been downloaded more than 165 million times, according to Sensor Tower.“I don’t believe Trump is trying to take TikTok away because of national security, but more to retaliate against activism on the app and all the videos about him that drag him through the mud,” said Darius Jackson, an 18-year-old TikTok user in Champaign, Illinois, who asked his followers Wednesday to give Trump’s app a one-star rating.“This is the first year I’ll be able to vote and I think activism on TikTok is going to make a big difference,” Jackson said.(Updates with Trump campaign response from sixth paragraph. A previous version of the story corrected the spelling of the Illinois city in the penultimate paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Corp. is buying the software of Hooq Digital Ltd., the Southeast Asian video streaming service owned by Singtel, Sony and Warner Bros that’s filed for liquidation, according to people familiar with the deal.Coupang has already struck a deal to acquire the assets, the people said, asking not to be named because the information hasn’t been announced.The deal ushers SoftBank-backed Coupang into a competitive but fragmented video streaming arena and pits it against the likes of Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. U.S. giants have emerged as frontrunners, squeezing out a number of domestic players with splashier local programming and fuller Hollywood slates. In a sign of accelerating consolidation, Tencent Holdings Ltd. recently agreed to buy the assets of Malaysian streaming platform iFlix Ltd. And last month, ride-hailing giant Gojek won funding from Golden Gate Ventures and other backers for its own video foray.Coupang, backed also by BlackRock Inc. and Sequoia Capital, has designs too on its own home market. Korea in recent years birthed blockbusters that captivated global audiences from “Parasite” to “Train to Busan,” yet Netflix and Alphabet Inc.’s Youtube remain dominant local players. South Korea’s government announced a plan last month to nurture five homegrown over-the-top or streaming service providers into global companies, and support their growth by expediting deals and investment in content.A Coupang representative declined to comment.Read more: Tencent Buys Assets of Struggling Streaming Platform IFlixHooq, a joint venture between Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., Sony Pictures Television Inc. and Warner Bros Entertainment Inc., filed for liquidation in March and discontinued service at the end of April. Set up in 2015, it offered movies and drama series across Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and India, but ran into trouble during the pandemic.Coupang, widely regarded as South Korea’s Amazon, has been aggressively expanding into new businesses such as food delivery and digital payments, mirroring the U.S. giant by broadening its services. The Seoul-based company, founded in 2010 by Chief Executive Officer Bom Kim, was said to be valued at $9 billion in late 2018 and has been eyeing a public listing as early as next year, Bloomberg News reported in January.Buoyed by the growth in subscribers to its delivery service, sales at the startup rose to a record 7.15 trillion won ($5.9 billion) in 2019.Read more: Coupang Grew Revenue 64% in Boost For SoftBank’s Startup Cred(Updates with details on Asian market from the third paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The European Union (EU) expects concessions before its regulator allows Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG)(NASDAQ: GOOGL) unit Google to acquire Fitbit (NYSE: FIT). According to a report from Reuters citing "people familiar with the matter," the U.S. tech giant will have to give up something in order for the deal to clear the European Commission's (EC) antitrust review process. One possible solution is that Google concretely promises that it will not misuse Fitbit user data by culling it to target advertising, the article's sources said.
(Bloomberg) -- Some of Wall Street’s biggest stocks are coming off their best quarterly performance in years, and with the broader economy still grappling with the pandemic, analysts are starting to express some skepticism about high-profile rallies.The S&P 500 surged 20% in the second quarter, its biggest quarterly gain since 1998. While the superlative nature of the rally was partly a function of timing -- many components hit a bottom right before the end of the first quarter -- the move was fueled by tech and internet stocks, which outperformed the benchmark and have heavy weightings due to their massive market capitalizations.Apple and Amazon.com both gained more than 40% during the quarter, making it the iPhone maker’s best quarter since 2012 and Amazon’s best since 2010.On Wednesday, Deutsche Bank confessed it was “surprised at both the speed and magnitude of the rebound” in Apple shares, adding that the move “has us nervous.” Raymond James echoed this tone on Tuesday, seeing uncertainty surrounding Apple’s forecast given an expected delay in the iPhone 12, a product Nomura Instinet expects “will fall short of a supercycle.” Both Deutsche Bank and Raymond James still recommend buying Apple shares.Amazon remains a consensus favorite on Wall Street -- more than 90% of the firms tracked by Bloomberg recommend buying it -- but the degree to which the share price exceeds analysts’ average price target is near a multiyear high, suggesting that even bulls aren’t expecting much additional upside.Among other mega-cap names, Microsoft rose 29% over the second quarter, its best such showing since 2009. Both Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet notched their biggest quarterly gain since 2013, with Facebook up 36% and Alphabet up 22%, based on its Class A shares. Netflix rose 21% last quarter.All are at or near record levels, and the rallies will soon be tested as each member of the group is scheduled to post quarterly results before the end of the month, with Netflix reporting next week.Apple EstimatesFor Apple, the rally has come despite a more tepid view for its upcoming results. Wall Street expects third-quarter earnings, excluding some items, of $2.03 a share, a consensus that is down 6.8% from where it was three months ago. The consensus for revenue has declined 0.9% over the same period.While analysts debate whether the results will justify the recent gains, many of these names are seen as potential pandemic winners. Microsoft is expected to see stronger demand for its cloud-computing and workplace collaboration products as people continue to work remotely, while the e-commerce wave lifting Amazon and others is seen as outlasting the coronavirus’s impact on brick-and-mortar stores.Apple analysts also see a number of reasons to be optimistic for the long term, including the company’s services business, wearable products, and its stock-buyback program. “Overall, we believe the directionality and reasoning behind AAPL’s stock rise,” Deutsche Bank’s Jeriel Ong wrote. Still, the firm has “ambivalence at these levels.”Firms expressed a similar sentiment about Netflix, which has seen higher engagement during the pandemic. Rosenblatt Securities “struggle[s] to see the upside” from current levels given “uncertainty over how [long] this favorable environment will last.” Stifel continues “to grapple with the risk/reward profile given limited 2H visibility.”Imperial Capital downgraded the stock earlier this week, moving away from an outperform rating that it had held since starting coverage on Netflix about two years ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Following the recent advance, Netflix “will begin a fairly extensive range-bound trend as other long opportunities emerge in the media space,” the firm said.(Removes reference to Microsoft reporting next week in seventh paragraph of story originally published July 8.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reiterated Thursday that the world's newly crowned most valuable automaker could develop a fully self-driving car by 2020. Tesla stock climbed 2.1%.
The AI-powered analytics company's share price has soared by more than 250% over the last three years.
Warren Buffett, after giving away a $2.9 billion gift this week, has seen his wealth drop below Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as well as former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Google may be able to stave off a full-scale EU antitrust investigation into its planned $2.1 billion bid for Fitbit <FIT.N> by pledging not to use Fitbit's health data to help it target ads, people familiar with the matter said. The deal announced in November last year allows Google, a unit of Alphabet <GOOGL.O>, to take on Apple <AAPL.O> and Samsung <005930.KS> in the fitness tracking and smart watch market, alongside others including Huawei and Xiaomi <1810.HK>. Apple is the leader in the global wearables market with a 29.3% market share in the first quarter of 2020, followed by Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei, according to data from market research firm International Data Corp. Fitbit's share of the market was 3%.
Google may be able to stave off a full-scale EU antitrust investigation into its planned $2.1 billion bid for Fitbit by pledging not to use Fitbit's health data to help it target ads, people familiar with the matter said. The deal announced in November last year allows Google, a unit of Alphabet, to take on Apple and Samsung in the fitness tracking and smart watch market, alongside others including Huawei and Xiaomi. Apple is the leader in the global wearables market with a 29.3% market share in the first quarter of 2020, followed by Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei, according to data from market research firm International Data Corp. Fitbit's share of the market was 3%.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google (GOOGL) has secured a major boost for its Google Cloud division with a multi-year agreement to house Renault SA’s (RNLSY) manufacturing data.In a report by Bloomberg on July 9, the deal will have Google providing its cloud-computing capabilities to the French automaker’s various manufacturing divisions. Both businesses have not disclosed the deal’s amount nor the specific length of the agreement but Alphabet refers to the contract as the “largest of its kind globally” and its first deal for Google Cloud in France.Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said in an interview, “We believe that manufacturing companies need a new platform to complement the assembly lines, the supply chains and other systems they already have.” He added, “The Renault contract offers a chance to improve manufacturing processes, industrial automation and adapted controls.”Kurian said that the agreement will have no overlap with Alphabet’s advertising unit and self-driving division Waymo. Additionally, he assured that no data will be going to the search giant’s other units.Renault Director of Manufacturing and Logistics José Vicente de los Mozos stated, “This agreement and the commitment of our IT teams will allow us to accelerate the deployment of our Industry 4.0 plan designed to transform and connect our production sites and logistics processes around the world to improve our standards of excellence and performance.”Adding the automaker to its cloud computing clientele represents another recent win for the Google Cloud portfolio. On July 8, GOOGL forged a 10-year agreement with Deutsche Bank AG (DB) to provide its enterprise-level services. Germany’s largest lender is the third client that the company will be servicing from the financial sector.Monness analyst Brian White on July 6 reiterated a Buy rating on GOOGL and a price target of $1420 (implying 6% downside) but cut Q2 earnings estimates, noting the growing global privacy initiatives along with the spread of COVID-19.On July 7, Needham analyst Laura Martin lowered the company’s Q2 revenue after the market research company, eMarketer projected that Google-search revenue will decline in 2Q and 2020. Martin said, “We lower our Alphabet Q2 revenue estimate down to 7% year-over-year.” She assigned a Buy rating on Alphabet’s stock and a price target of $1800 which implies 20% upside.Google is up 12% year-to-date with 28 analysts assigning Buy ratings, 2 with Hold ratings, and no Sell ratings which altogether results in a Strong Buy consensus. The average analyst price target stands at $1531.50 suggesting 2% upside potential. (See Google’s stock analysis on TipRanks).Related News: Intel Capital Snaps Up $255M Stake In India’s Jio Platforms Apple Doubles Down On 5G iPhone Mass Production- Report Apple’s Integrated Ecosystem Takes the Cake, Says Top Analyst More recent articles from Smarter Analyst: * Bed Bath Drops 9% In Pre-Market As Sales Sink 49%; Merrill Lynch Raises PT * Apple Reassures On Intel’s Thunderbolt Despite Chip Departure * Costco June Sales Beat Estimates As Shoppers Go Online; Top Analyst Raises PT * AstraZeneca’s Wins FDA Priority Review For Heart Drug Brilinta
(Bloomberg) -- Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk said the carmaker is on the verge of developing technology to render its vehicles fully capable of driving themselves, repeating a claim he’s made for years but been unable to achieve.The chief executive officer has long offered exuberant takes on the capabilities of Tesla cars, even going so far as to start charging customers thousands of dollars for a “Full Self Driving” feature in 2016. Years later, Tesla still requires users of its Autopilot system to be fully attentive and ready to take over the task of driving at any time.Tesla’s mixed messages have drawn controversy and regulatory scrutiny. In 2018, the company blamed a driver who died after crashing a Model X while using Autopilot for not paying attention to the road. Documents made public last year showed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had issued multiple subpoenas for information about crashes involving Tesla vehicles, suggesting the agency may have been preparing a formal investigation of Autopilot.Read more: Businessweek’s October 2019 cover story on Tesla AutopilotWhile other self-driving developers have tempered expectations for when their technology will be ready for deployment, Musk is undeterred. He said in a prerecorded video played Thursday during the World AI Conference in Shanghai that Tesla is “very close” to level five autonomy, meaning its cars won’t require human intervention.“I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level five autonomy complete this year,” Musk said. “I think there are no fundamental challenges remaining for level five autonomy. There are many small problems, and then there’s the challenge of solving all those small problems and then putting the whole system together, and just keep addressing the long tail of problems.”Shares of Tesla rose as much as 3.1% to $1,408.56 in early New York trading on Thursday.Musk’s view contrasts with Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, which recently acknowledged it will be relying on human safety drivers to back up its robotaxis for many years to come. General Motors Co.’s Cruise last year backed off plans to make autonomous vehicles available for hailing rides and hasn’t set a new timetable for when such a service will be ready.Related: The State of the Self-Driving Car Race 2020Musk, 49, has repeatedly described autonomous driving as transformative for Tesla. He’s not alone in this sense: Cruise CEO Dan Ammann has estimated there will be a $1 trillion addressable market in the U.S. for autonomous ride hailing.During Thursday’s video, Musk said that original engineering on Tesla technology is an important facet of the company’s operations in China, which are anchored by its massive new factory near Shanghai.(Updates with shares in sixth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Google can avoid an EU probe of its planned takeover of Fitbit. Reuters sources say Brussels would be satisfied with a pledge not to use Fitbit’s health data to target ads. The 2.1 billion dollar bid was announced last November. It would allow Google to take on Apple, Samsung and others in the fitness tracking and smartwatch market. But the plan has drawn heavy criticism from privacy advocates. They worry what Google would do with access to Fitbit’s trove of personal health data. Concerns too about competition. The European Commission is examining whether the takeover would cement Google’s dominance of online advertising. Sources say it’s set to trigger a four-month probe of the deal if Google doesn’t offer concessions by Monday (July 13). But they say the search giant could avert that by offering a binding pledge not to use health data for advertising. Google has dismissed all the concerns. It says the deal is about devices, not data, and will only boost competition. The smart wearables market is currently dominated by Apple, which has an almost 30 percent market share.
Some Senate Finance Committee members are looking into a plan that would allow corporations to claim additional federal tax credits this year, according to the Washington Post. Matthew Gardner, Senior Fellow at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, joins Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman to discuss how a proposal like this could provide new breaks to companies like Netflix and Amazon.