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Update on the latest in business:

October 9, 2017


US stocks are mixed ahead of company earnings reports

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are mixed today as health care and industrial companies fall while technology companies gain ground. General Electric fell after announcing more changes in its leadership. Companies that distribute or sell prescription drugs continue to slide. Major stock indexes continued to trade around all-time highs after a long winning streak for the market that ended on Friday.

At 12:51 p.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 was down 2 points at 2,547. The Dow was down 11 points at 22,763. And the Nasdaq was down one point, at 6,589.

Trading is expected to be light because of the Columbus Day holiday. U.S. bond trading is closed for the holiday.


Richard Thaler wins Nobel for work in behavioral economics

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Economist Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago says he’ll likely use his $1.1 million Nobel prize money in ways consistent with his research.

The Swedish Academy of Sciences says Thaler was awarded the Nobel prize in economics for his “understanding the psychology of economics.”

Thaler is considered one of the founding fathers of behavioral economics, a field that shows that far from being the rational decision-makers described in economic theory, people often make choices that don’t serve their best interests. That could include, for example, refusing to cut their losses when their investments plunge in value or making big bets at the casino because they are convinced their hot streak will continue.


GM buys laser firm in bid to speed autonomous car research

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is buying a small company that is developing Laser light sensors for autonomous cars, a move the automaker says will speed deployment of self-driving technology.

GM says it bought Strobe Inc., of Pasadena, California, for a small but undisclosed sum.

Strobe will work with GM’s Cruise Automation team in San Francisco to develop the next generation of laser sensors called Lidar.

Cruise Automation is testing autonomous electric Chevrolet Bolt cars on the streets of San Francisco with human backup drivers. The company says Strobe technology will reduce the cost of the vehicles while speeding up large-scale deployment. But GM didn’t say when the technology would ready to carry passengers.

Lidar sensors supplement radar and cameras and are needed for autonomous cars to function in conditions with poor visibility.


Report: Google uncovers ads by Russian operatives

NEW YORK (AP) — Reports say Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads across Google products, including YouTube and Google search.

The Washington Post is reporting that the technology behemoth uncovered the Russian-backed disinformation campaign as it considers whether to testify before Congress next month. Social media companies Facebook and Twitter have already agreed to testify.

The report says the company discovered the Russian presence by siphoning data from Twitter. The Washington Post report is based on anonymous sources familiar with the investigation.


UK leader hails ‘new dynamic’ in Brexit talks

LONDON (AP) — Royal Bank of Scotland has removed its own logo from its flagship London office, replacing it with the more locally focused NatWest brand — a sign that the bank has shed its global aspirations once and for all.

Once the world’s largest bank, RBS was bailed out during the 2008 financial crisis and has been transitioning to becoming a more local bank.

NatWest, a bank RBS acquired during its global expansion drive, is to become the bank’s brand in England and Wales. It will still be Royal Bank of Scotland in Scotland.

David Wheldon, chief marketing officer for RBS, described it as an “important milestone” at the heart of a strategy to “rebuild pride and trust.”


Where is the ball? UK and EU exchange volleys over Brexit

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May says there is a positive “new dynamic” in Brexit talks with the European Union.

May told lawmakers in the House of Commons today that a speech she made in Florence last month was designed “to move the negotiations forward, and that is exactly what has happened.”

She said there had been progress on the rights of EU citizens in Britain and U.K. nationals elsewhere in the bloc — one of the major logjams in negotiations.

The talks have become bogged down on details of the divorce settlement, including the amount the U.K. must pay to honor its commitments to the bloc.

As a fifth round of talks began in Brussels, May said “I believe we can prove the doomsayers wrong” and get a good deal for both sides.


Modelo inks multimillion-dollar ad deal with UFC

UNDATED (AP) — Ultimate Fighting Championship has struck a multi-year deal with Modelo Especial (moh-DAY’-loh eh-speh-see-AL’) that will make the Mexican beer the official beer and malt beverage of the world’s largest MMA company.

Model’s multimillion deal starts in 2018 and the partnership encompasses only United States events.

Anheuser-Busch had been UFC’s beer sponsor since 2008.


Promega files counterclaim to lawsuit filed by shareholders

FITCHBURG, Wis. (AP) — Promega Corp. and its founder are firing back at shareholders who sued the Wisconsin biotechnology company in 2016 for shareholder oppression.

The lawsuit filed by shareholders Nathan Brand and Ted Kellner alleges that company founder Bill Linton bullied shareholders in order to keep majority control of the company.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the counterclaim alleges Brand and Kellner hatched a plot to take over the company and force Promega’s board to pay an exorbitant price for their shares.

The shareholders’ attorney says they have no comment on the case. They have until Nov. 2 to respond to the counterclaims.

Promega sells 3,500 products used in research, drug discovery and DNA identification. It has more than 800 employees in the Madison area.

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