Stocks mostly lower…Audi halts some deliveries…Google makes the call
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are mostly lower in afternoon trading as losses in health care, utilities and other sectors outweigh gains in banks and industrial companies. Energy stocks also declined as crude oil prices slumped more than 2 percent ahead of the afternoon announcement by President Donald Trump that the U.S. is pulling out of a landmark nuclear deal with Iran.
BERLIN (AP) – Volkswagen’s Audi unit says it has discovered new engine software irregularities in some of its diesel models and has halted deliveries of those cars to dealers. Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority says it will question the automaker about the issue. Audi said it was discovered “in the context of internal investigations of the diesel issue,” the scandal over diesel emissions-cheating that erupted at Volkswagen in 2015.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – NASCAR President Brent Dewar has told employees the France family “remains dedicated to the long term growth of our sport.” The memo was sent to employees today, one day after a media report said the France family was exploring the sale of its stake in the nation’s top auto racing series. NASCAR has struggled with recent ratings and attendance declines and several big-name sponsors have scaled back or pulled out.
SEATTLE (AP) – Seattle’s latest tax proposal to combat homelessness takes aim at large businesses such as Amazon that have helped drive Seattle’s economic boom. The measure has sparked intense debate over who should pay to solve the housing crisis exacerbated by that growth. The City Council is proposing a tax on employee-hours to raise about $75 million a year for affordable housing and homelessness services. Nearly 600 large employers making at least $20 million in gross revenue would pay about $500 a year per worker.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) – Google is working on technology it’s calling Google Duplex that will use artificial intelligence to call businesses to make appointments and other tedious calls. In two demonstrations at Google’s annual development conference today, one setting up a hair appointment and another a restaurant reservation, a realistic-sounding automated voice used pauses and “ums” and “mmm-hmms” to sound more human during interactions with people.