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February 9, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks struggle to stabilize after tumult

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are struggling to stabilize in unsteady trading on Wall Street as an early gain quickly evaporated.

The Dow Jones industrial average has been down nearly 300 points at midday, after being up nearly 350 points at one point early in the day.

The up-and-down trading comes a day after the market entered its first correction in two years. That means a drop of 10 percent from a recent peak.

Major U.S. indexes set their latest record highs just two weeks ago.

AMAZON-DELIVERY

Report: Amazon readying delivery service

UNDATED (AP) — Amazon’s next move may be to shake up the shipping industry.

The online retailer is reportedly planning a new service called “Shipping With Amazon” that will allow it to pick up packages from businesses and deliver them to consumers. The service is expected to start in Los Angeles in the coming weeks, before it is rolled out more broadly as soon as this year, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources.

Amazon, which has been edging into the delivery business for some time, didn’t deny the report.

Shares of shipping companies FedEx and UPS slipped Friday.

The news comes after a rocky holiday season for UPS. The company was caught off-guard by the crush of online shopping leading up to the season and said it must spend a chunk of its tax-cut savings to improve its package-delivery network.

WAYMO-UBER

Uber, Waymo settled trade secrets clash

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Uber is settling a lawsuit filed by Google’s autonomous car unit alleging that the ride-hailing service riped off self-driving car technology.

Both sides in the case issued statements confirming the settlement Friday morning in the midst of a federal court trial in the case.

Google’s Waymo unit says Uber agreed to take steps to make sure Waymo technology isn’t used in Uber’s autonomous vehicles. Waymo says Uber also agreed to pay about $245 million.

Uber’s CEO says in a printed statement that the company doesn’t believe trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber. He also says Uber is taking steps to make sure its self-driving vehicle research represents only Uber’s work.

LL BEAN-RETURNS

APNewsBreak: LL Bean dropping its unlimited returns policy

FREEPORT, Maine (AP) — L.L. Bean’s generous return policy is going to be a little less forgiving: The company is imposing a one-year limit on most returns to reduce abuse and fraud.

Executives tell The Associated Press that returns of severely worn items, including some retrieved from trash bins or purchased at thrift stores, have doubled over five years.

Under the new policy announced Friday, the company will accept returns for one year with a proof of purchase and will continue to replace products for manufacturing defects beyond that.

The Maine-based outdoors retailer anticipates taking some heat from those believe the company is backing away from founder Leon Leonwood Bean’s satisfaction guarantee. But company officials say he never intended for it to become a lifetime replacement policy.

BUDGET BATTLE

Trump signs budget deal, government reopens

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday signed a $400 billion budget deal that sharply boosts spending and swells the federal deficit, ending a brief federal government shutdown that happened while most Americans were sleeping and most government offices were closed, anyway.

The House and Senate approved a bill to keep the government funded through March 23, overcoming opposition from liberal Democrats as well as tea party conservatives to endorse enormous spending increases despite looming trillion-dollar deficits. The House voted 240-186 to approve the bill just before dawn Eastern time, hours after the Senate had approved the measure on a 71-28 vote.

Trump tweeted Friday morning that he had signed the bill, writing that the U.S. military “will now be stronger than ever before.” The budget bill “also means JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” Trump tweeted.

BREXIT

EU negotiator says disagreements remain on Brexit transition

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s Brexit negotiator says major differences remain over whether Britain should be obliged to respect all EU rules and obligations during the transition period after Brexit.

The EU and Britain are negotiating a transition time that would begin when Britain’s departure from the bloc takes effect in March 2019 and run through 2020. Officials have said the period would allow Britain to ease its way out of the EU while providing certainty for businesses.

But EU negotiator Michel Barnier told reporters on Friday that “the transition is not yet sealed.” He said: “If these disagreements persist, the transition is not (a) given.”

Barnier underlined that “the United Kingdom must accept all the rules and the conditions right until the end of the transition, and must also accept the inescapable consequences of its decision to leave the European Union.”

BRITAIN-BREXIT-TRADE

UK’s exports to EU swell as Brexit talks enter next stage

LONDON (AP) — British firms are exporting more to the other 27 countries in the European Union, a development that’s likely to focus minds as discussions over the country’s future relationship with the bloc start up again.

Official figures released Friday show that seven of the top 10 destinations for British exports in 2017 were EU countries.

Selling everything from cars to pharmaceuticals, British firms exported some 37.7 billion pounds ($53 billion) worth of goods to Germany in 2017, around 13 percent more than the year before. Germany accounted for 11 percent of British exports in 2017, up a tad on the year before, and second overall behind the United States.

Other EU countries in the top 10 export destinations included France, the Netherlands and Ireland. All witnessed annual increases akin to Germany’s.

THAILAND -DARK WEB-IDENTITY THEFT

Thais arrest alleged Russian cybercrime market operator

BANGKOK (AP) — Police in Thailand say they have arrested a Russian national accused by U.S. authorities of running an online cybercrime marketplace where everything from stolen credit card information to hardware for compromising ATM machines could be purchased.

Police said Friday that Sergey Medvedev was arrested at his Bangkok apartment on Feb. 2 at the request of U.S. authorities.

The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday announced indictments against 36 people accused of being active in the Infraud Organization — founded in 2010 and operated under the slogan “In Fraud We Trust” — which was an anonymous online forum with nearly 11,000 members who traded more than 4.3 million credit cards, debit cards and bank accounts worldwide, leading to losses of more than $530 million for legitimate users and businesses.

PYRAMID SCHEME-CASH SEIZED

Man sentenced in connection with $20M found in box spring

BOSTON (AP) — A Brazilian man arrested in connection with the discovery of about $20 million cash hidden inside a box spring in a Massachusetts apartment has been sentenced to nearly three years in federal prison.

Cleber Rene Rizerio Rocha was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty in October to money laundering charges.

The money was found in Westborough in January 2017 during an investigation into TelexFree Inc., a defunct internet telecom company that prosecutors say was actually a billion-dollar pyramid scheme.

Prosecutors say TelexFree had few customers and made most of its revenue from people buying into the company with a promise of payouts for posting online ads.

Authorities say the 28-year-old Rocha was a courier for a fugitive TelexFree executive who came to retrieve the money move it out of the U.S.

NETFLIX FOR MOVIE THEATERS

Unlimited movie-theater deal could be too good to survive

NEW YORK (AP) — MoviePass is trying to bring to movie theaters what Netflix did for DVDs and online streaming: Let subscribers watch as many movies as they want for $10 a month.

In doing so, MoviePass has struck a chord with moviegoers and a nerve with the movie industry.

The service’s popularity comes as ticket prices rise and cheaper online options increase.

With ticket prices in big cities at $15 and up, MoviePass loses money with just one movie. It needs deals with theater chains and movie studios, such as a share of popcorn revenue for bringing in moviegoers.

But the industry is skeptical and worried that as moviegoers get accustomed to much cheaper prices, consumer anger might be redirected at the theaters if MoviePass raises its prices or goes out of business.

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