Stocks fall…Housing starts gain…CVS expands prescription deliveries
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are sharply lower as tensions over trade between the U.S. and China seem closer to a boil. President Donald Trump is calling for tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, drawing a rebuke from China. Last week, the U.S. levied tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods. China threatened to retaliate, leading Trump to propose broader penalties. International markets slumped, with China-focused stocks hit hard.
WASHINGTON (AP) – A surge of construction in the Midwest drove U.S. housing starts up 5 percent in May from the prior month. The Commerce Department says that housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.35 million, the strongest pace since July 2007. All of May’s construction gains came from a 62 percent jump in the Midwest, while building slumped in the Northeast, South and West. The solid job market has helped to boost demand for new homes.
UNDATED (AP) – Verizon is pledging to stop selling data to outsiders through intermediaries that can pinpoint the location of mobile phones. The company disclosed its plans in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden. It is the first major U.S. wireless carrier to step back from a business practice that has drawn criticism for endangering privacy. The data has allowed third parties to track wireless devices without their owners’ knowledge or consent.
UNDATED (AP) – CVS Health is making prescription deliveries nationwide to accommodate the heightened expectations of convenience from consumers. The nation’s second-largest drugstore chain says it also will make home deliveries of other items, like allergy medicines, vitamins or household products. The service will cost $4.99 for deliveries made in one or two days. The drugstore chain is expanding same-day deliveries to Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, DC. It began making same-day deliveries in New York late last year.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – IBM is testing a computer against two human debaters in the first public demonstration of artificial intelligence technology it’s been working on for more than five years. The company unveiled its Project Debater in San Francisco yesterday. When it was asked to debate in favor of government-subsidized space exploration – a topic it hadn’t studied – the computer quickly delivered an opening argument, pulling in evidence collected from its repository of newspaper articles and journals. It then listened to a human’s counter-argument and gave a 4-minute rebuttal.