Stocks plunge, oil climbs…Construction spending up for 5th straight month…Tesla sales rose 50 percent in 2019
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are tumbling and oil prices climbing after U.S. forces in Iraq killed a top Iranian general, and Iran vowed to retaliate. The Dow Jones industrial average has been down more than 200 points in morning trading, and oil prices surged 3.6%. Stocks had been off to a bullish start to the new year after blockbuster gains in 2019.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Spending on U.S. construction projects rose a solid 0.6% in November as gains in home building and government projects offset weakness in nonresidential construction. The Commerce Department reports the fifth consecutive monthly gain, a sharp improvement from a tiny 0.1% October advance. The acceleration was led by a 1.9% rise in home construction which was more than double the October increase. Spending on government projects rose 0.9%.
DETROIT (AP) – Tesla says its global deliveries rose more than 50% last year, meaning the company surpassed the low end of its sales goals for 2019. The announcement before the markets opened pushed Tesla’s shares to a record high of $438.16 at the opening bell, up nearly 2% from Thursday’s close. The stock hit a record last week in anticipation of strong sales numbers. The electric car maker delivered a record of about 112,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter and about 367,500 for the full year. The lower-cost Model 3 accounted for 83% of the company’s fourth-quarter sales at 92,550. The higher priced Model S Sedan and Model X large SUV made up the rest.
DETROIT (AP) – Three crashes involving Teslas last month that killed three people have increased scrutiny of the company’s Autopilot driving system. This comes just months before Tesla CEO Elon Musk has planned to put fully self-driving cars on the streets. Tesla has said repeatedly that its Autopilot system is designed only to assist drivers, who must still pay attention and be ready to intervene at all times. But experts and safety advocates say a string of crashes raises serious questions about whether drivers have become too reliant on Tesla’s technology and whether the company does enough to ensure that drivers keep paying attention.
LONDON (AP) – British workers who practice “ethical veganism” have secured a big win in an employment tribunal when a judge ruled that they are entitled to legal protection from job discrimination. The judge said that because ethical veganism is a philosophical belief, its adherents are covered by the U.K.’s anti-discrimination law, the 2010 Equality Act. Today’s ruling came in a claim brought by a man who said he was fired after raising questions about pension fund investments in companies that test products on animals.