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Business Highlights

February 4, 2019

5 reasons why autonomous cars aren’t coming anytime soon

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Autonomous vehicles won’t be coming to your city anytime soon. Even the most optimistic of experts say it will be 10 years before the cars are everywhere, but others believe it will take decades. The biggest reasons are camera and laser sensors that can’t see through heavy snow or figure out where to go if lane lines are covered.

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Google parent beats Q4 estimates, stock still drops

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google parent company Alphabet beat Wall Street expectations for its fourth quarter earnings Monday, although its stock slid in after-hours trading. The company reported profit of $8.9 billion on revenue of $39.3 billion.

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‘Bond King’ Bill Gross to retire from Janus

DENVER (AP) — William H. Gross, the legendary and colorful bond investor who once controlled the world’s largest mutual fund, is retiring to focus on his personal assets and private charitable foundation. Gross was nicknamed the “Bond King” after co-founding the investment firm Pimco in 1971 and delivering returns that were the envy of the fixed-income market. But his star dimmed in recent years as his returns fell short of competitors.

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New Jersey becomes 4th state to approve $15 hourly wage

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey has become the latest state to boost its hourly minimum wage to $15. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law on Monday a measure phasing in the higher rate over five years. The bill raises the current $8.85 minimum wage to $10 an hour in July, and then increases the rate by $1 in subsequent years until it reaches $15 in 2024.

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From dorm to dominance: Growing pains as Facebook turns 15

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook turns 15 on Monday, a fitting milestone for its trudge through those awkward teenage years. Launched in 2004 as “TheFacebook” in a Harvard dorm room, the service was originally intended only for the university’s students. It looks very different today, when it is a massive global business that connects some 2.3 billion users - but that also must deal with criticism that it has become a conduit for misinformation, election interference and even violent incitement.

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Technology companies lead stocks higher after an early slide

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks recovered from an early wobble Monday, lifting the benchmark S&P 500 to its fourth straight gain. Technology companies led the broad move higher, outweighing losses in health care, materials and utilities stocks.

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Nissan decision seen as sign of Brexit business jitters

LONDON (AP) — With Brexit just seven weeks away, Britain’s ruling Conservative Party is locked in tense negotiations with itself to rework the U.K.’s divorce deal with the European Union — as the EU stands firm in ruling out any renegotiation. Meanwhile, pro-EU and pro-Brexit U.K. politicians are trading allegations about whether Nissan’s decision not to build a new SUV in northern England was the latest Brexit-induced damage to Britain’s economy.

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Super Bowl ad winners: Bud Light, Amazon

NEW YORK (AP) — This year some of the Super Bowl ads that grabbed the greatest buzz were surprises, like Bud Light’s “Game of Thrones” teaser. Other crowd-pleasers focused on humor, like Amazon’s take on celebrity product testers. While the New England Patriots bested the L.A. Rams on Sunday in Atlanta during Super Bowl 53, there were clear winners and losers off the field too. Some like Google’s ad about translation charmed. But others like Mint Mobile’s ad about “chunky milk” fell flat.

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Struggling Papa John’s names activist investor as chairman

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Papa John’s has turned to activist investment firm Starboard Value to help it engineer a turnaround. Starboard CEO Jeff Smith will become chairman of the pizza chain’s board. Meanwhile, Starboard Value will invest $200 million in Papa John’s through the purchase of new convertible preferred shares.

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US prepares to start building portion of Texas border wall

HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. government is preparing to begin construction of more border walls and fencing in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, likely on federally owned land set aside as wildlife refuge property. Heavy construction equipment is supposed to arrive starting Monday. A photo posted by the nonprofit National Butterfly Center shows an excavator parked next to its property.

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The S&P 500 index rose 18.34 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,724.87. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 175.48 points, or 0.7 percent, to 25,239.37. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite gained 83.67 points, or 1.2 percent, to 7,347.54.

U.S. crude fell 1.3 percent to settle at $54.56 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 0.4 percent to close at $62.51 per barrel in London.

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