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Target’s Sales Figures May Indicate Financial Trouble Ahead

Target’s (NYSE:TGT) sales and financial performance have slipped in recent months. Target reported that its second-quarter earnings fell 9.7 percent to $680 million. Adjusted earnings per share totaled $1.23, topping Wall Street’s expectations by 11 cents a share. The retailer said it earned $16.17 billion in revenue in the fiscal second quarter. Analysts had expected Target to report $16.18 billion in revenue. In last year’s second quarter, Target earned $1.22 a share on sales of $17.43 billion. Sales fell 7.2 percent to $16.2... 
 

Tesla Announces $2.6B SolarCity Deal

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) and SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) jointly announced a $2.6 billion stock merger on Monday. Under the terms of the deal, SolarCity shareholders will receive 0.11 Tesla shares for each SolarCity share they own. The deal values each SolarCity share at $25.30, roughly 58 cents below where the shares ended trading on Monday. Elon Musk is the chairman of SolarCity and chief executive of Tesla Motors. Tesla submitted a proposal to Lyndon Rive, the chief executive of SolarCity, to acquire the company June 20. That proposal had a higher... 
 

Yelp Fighting Back Against Bad Review Lawsuits

Yelp (NYSE:YELP) is now publicly shaming businesses that threaten to sue their customers for negative reviews. Now, any businesses that files a lawsuit, or threatens to file a lawsuit, because of a bad review will have their page marked with a public warning. Yelp’s senior vice president, Vince Sollitto announced the policy in a blog post on the site. The warning will take the form of a pop-up alert that reads, “Consumer Alert: Questionable Legal Threats. This business may be trying to abuse the legal system in an effort to stifle free speech,... 
 

Coca-Cola Beats On Income, Misses On Revenue

The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE:KO) beat analysts’ estimates for net income in the second quarter when it posted earnings on Wednesday. The company reported that net income rose to $3.45 billion, or 79 cents a share, for the quarter. That compared with earnings of $3.11 billion, or 71 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding certain one time items, Coke said it earned 60 cents a share, beating analysts’ estimates of 58 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters. Coke has surpassed Wall Street’s expectations for six straight quarters... 
 

Union Pacific Second Quarter Results In Line With Expectations

Union Pacific Corp. (NYSE:UNP) announced during its earnings call that its second-quarter profit fell, but remained in line with Wall Street’s expectations. The company reported net income of $979 million, or $1.17 per share, down from $1.2 billion, or $1.38 per share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research predicted earnings of $1.17 per share on average. The railroad’s revenue declined 12 percent year-over-year to $4.77 billion, slightly lower than the $4.79 billion expected by analysts. The railroad reported that it... 
 

Could Tennessee Lottery Funding Help Improve Teacher Diversity in the State?

The Tennessee State Board of Education has been agonizing over ways to improve diversity in teacher recruitment. Of course, that also means that there needs to be a more diverse pool of talent available; and as such, statewide groups have been working hard to encourage more people of differing backgrounds and cultures to pursue these jobs. And now, the Tennessee State Board of Education is working towards a presentation—due in October—discussing how they can ensure better teacher preparation programs that will graduate teachers more prepared... 
 

Marriott International Launches New Business Travel Initiatives

Marriott International (NASDAQ:MAR) has announced the launch of a number of initiatives that underscore Marriott’s commitment to business travelers and meeting attendees. This year, Marriott is expanding its meeting spaces across it’s portfolio. Marriott has also launched its MeetingsImagined.com website, which connects meeting planners with images and articles from more than 750 Marriott hotels. Business travelers at 4,200 Marriott properties globally will now have access to mobile check-in and check-out. Netflix in-room entertainment... 
 

Wells Fargo Second Quarter Results Meet Expectations

Wells Fargo reported earnings results for the second quarter that were roughly in line with analysts’ expectations. The San Francisco-based bank reported a profit of $5.56 billion, or $1.01 a share, lower than the $5.72 billion, or $1.03 a share, reported in the same period of 2015. Revenue was $22.16 billion. Both were in line with analysts’ expectations. During the first quarter, the bank’s return on equity reached 11.7 percent, the lowest ROE for the bank since the fourth quarter of 2010. This was down from 11.75 percent last quarter and... 
 

Washington State Youth Advocates Say State Education Funding Must Go Beyond the Classroom

To say that education reform in America starts with funding would be an obvious understatement. Yes, it seems that things in the United States are a little backwards right now in terms of government spending; after all, more has been spent over the past few years on prisons than on schools. But youth advocates in Washington State say that adequate education funding is not only about money for classrooms (and teachers). In fact, this group has gone so far as to file a brief with the Washington State Supreme Court to pinpoint what money, exactly,... 
 

Chipotle Shares Fall On New Health Scare

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE:CMG) saw its shares take a dive Thursday after concerns about food safety at the burrito chain were revived. Shares of Chipotle were down 2 percent at $393.21 per share midday Thursday after falling as much as 3.7 percent to a session low of $386.21 earlier in morning. Prior to last year’s highly publicized food safety issues, the company’s stock traded above $750. The reaction shows just how sensitive Chipotle currently is to food safety concerns. The new concerns came as best-selling author Eric Van... 
 

Volkswagen To Pay $15B In Penalties To U.S. For Emissions Cheating

Volkswagen has announced that it has reached an agreement to pay about $15 billion in penalties in a settlement with U.S. regulators over the company’s use of devices that let it cheat on emission tests. Volkswagen also settled an inquiry by attorneys general in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico over defrauding consumers for $500 million in penalties. The company is still facing a criminal investigation in the United States. As part of the settlement, Volkswagen will offer to buy back the cars based on prescandal, “clean trade”... 
 

New York Passes Strict Advertising Law Aimed At Airbnb

New York State legislators passed a bill today that will heavily fine hosts on Airbnb and other short-term rental sites for listings that violate the state’s short-term rental laws. The bill prohibits online apartment listings that last under 30 days and run up against the city’s multiple dwelling law. The bill calls for heavy fines for violators: $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 the second time, and up to $7,500 for the third. The legislation cleared the New York state Senate by an overwhelming margin and now goes to the desk of New... 
 

Snapchat Hoping Marketers Will Embrace New Ad Platform

Snapchat announced the launch of Snapchat Partners today, an advertising API (application programming interface) that is partnering with more than 20 tech companies. The new program was launched to increase advertising on the platform. Snapchat says that the API will make it easier for marketers to buy ads on the platform. According to a study from L2, which examined hundreds of marketers across sectors, brands average 26 posts per week on Snapchat. However, nearly one-third of brands with a Snapchat account don’t even post once a month on... 
 

General Mills Launches Tiny Toast Cereal

General Mills (NYSE:GIS) has launched its first new cereal brand since 2001, a fruity offering called “Tiny Toast.” Unveiled on Monday, Tiny Toast features pieces of crunchy “toast” made from whole grain oats and corn cereal covered with powdered real fruit. It comes in two flavors, strawberry and blueberry. After being in development for more than a year, the new cereal is scheduled arrive on store shelves this month. Tiny Toast is General Mills attempt at making real tasteful fruit cereals. Most fruity cereals do not smell... 
 

Amazon Alexa Skills Now Top 1,000

Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) intelligent assistant Alexa has just hit an impressive milestone. Today, Amazon announced that its Alexa app store has grown to over 1,000 skills. In January of this year, Alexa’s skills section had only about 130 apps. Several of the more notable additions to Alexa’s selection of skills include those from Capital One, Domino’s, Fitbit, KAYAK, SmartThings, and Uber. In today’s release, Alexa director Rob Pulciani said, “Today, we have a vibrant community of tens of thousands of developers who are learning... 
 

New Household Robot From Asus A Big Hit At Computex

The new Zenbo robot from Asus (ASUUY) was revealed at the Computex trade show in Taipei on May 29, 2016. The Zenbo robot, which will cost $599, is described as a home robot designed to be different things to different family members. Purchasers can use it as smart home manager, security guard, hands-free kitchen assistant, family photographer and more. At first glance, the robot looks like a cross between ET and the robot BB-8 from Star Wars. The robot stands about two feet high, can understand spoken commands, and rolls around on its own on its... 
 

Verizon Seeks Court Orders Against Striker Harassment

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) has sought court orders in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Delaware imposing restrictions on picketing workers. Verizon complained to the courts that the strikers have been harassing and threatening its replacement workers. The company also complained that the striking workers were picketing hotels where the replacement workers are housed and blocking access to its work locations. About 40,000 workers registered with the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers... 
 

Abercrombie & Fitch Reports Disappointing Numbers For 1Q

Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) reported a disappointing first quarter as more consumers shift their spending to online shops and fast-fashion chains. For the period ended April 30, New Albany, Ohio-based Abercrombie lost $39.6 million, or 59 cents per share. This was more than the 50 cents per share loss estimated by analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research. A year ago, Abercrombie reported a first-quarter loss of $63.2 million, or 91 cents per share. The company reported that revenue declined 3.4 percent, to $685.5 million from $709.4... 
 

Bayer And Monsanto Keep Mum On Merger Terms

In some of the most surprising news of the week, German drugs and chemicals company Bayer has made an unsolicited takeover proposal to Monsanto (NYSE:MON), a U.S. seeds company. A press release from the company announced, “Bayer executives recently met with executives of Monsanto to privately discuss a negotiated acquisition of Monsanto.” Monsanto confirmed the news with a statement said that its board was reviewing the proposal. However, neither Monsanto or Bayer released the proposed terms of the takeover deal. A merger between Monsanto and... 
 

Amazon To Take On Grocery Chains With Private Label Products

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is reportedly preparing to unveil its own private-label brand for foods and household items. The Seattle-based online retailer plans to sell private label nuts, spices, tea, coffee, baby food and vitamins, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Amazon is expected to introduce the new lines in the coming weeks. Sources are saying that Amazon could start rolling out these products as early as end of May or early June. The products will only be available to Amazon Prime members, who pay $99 a year for inclusion in the... 
 

Payday Lenders No Longer Welcome On Google Ads

Google has announced that it will no longer be showing ads for payday lenders, effectively barring them from advertising on the platform. Google is defining payday loans as loans due within 60 days of being issued. Google is also banning ads in the US for loans with an annual interest rate of 36 percent or higher. Other types of loans, like car and student loans, can still be advertised. The new policy goes into effect next month starting June 13th. After that date, the ads that appear on the top and right-hand side of a search results page will... 
 

Fiat Chrysler And Google Partner On Self Driving Minivans

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced that it is forming a partnership with Google to develop 100 self driving minivan prototypes. The two companies will be working to create 100 self driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans. Fiat Chrysler’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, said the Chrysler Pacifica minivans produced with Google will look physically different than the regular models after Google installs its sensors and self-driving technology. The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is on sale now at dealerships. The companies plan to co-locate engineering... 
 

Aeropostale Blames Supplier For Bankruptcy Filing

Struggling teen apparel retailer Aeropostale Inc filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday. In an unexpected twist, the company is blaming another business for its financial woes, namely Sycamore Partners, its main lender and the owner of a critical supplier for the company. Aeropostale asked a court for permission to investigate Sycamore Partners, claiming that the company deliberately forced its deterioration. In the filing submitted to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Aeropostale’s Chief... 
 

Future Looks Bleak For The Sports Authority

Last week, The Sports Authority gave up hope it could re-organize under bankruptcy protection. Now, the company is planning to auction itself off to the highest bidder. The company is planning to sell almost all of its assets at a court supervised auction on May 16. The Sports Authority has not yet said whether it will shutter its entire fleet of stores. The company currently employs approximately 15,000 workers in 41 states. In January, Sports Authority failed to make a $20 million debt payment. In March, the retailer filed for Chapter 11 protection... 
 

Deal Between Orange and Bouygues Collapses

Ramon Fernandez the CFO of Orange SA took to Twitter after the talks with Orange to acquire the Bouygues SA phone business collapsed. He tweeted that following three months of intense diplomacy the talks had fallen apart. The previous night, after the markets had been closed for the weekend, the two companies called the talks off giving up hope of reaching a deal. Following a weekend where investors became very nervous, the stocks on Monday opened with huge declines. The deal was going to consolidate the phone industry in France. Success prior to... 
 

Google Return to China is Short Lived

Google Search, which in China has been blocked for the past six years, was said to be accessible for a short period on Sunday evening. According to the reports inside China, people living in mainland China succeeded in using Google search for over one hour. However, the shutters were then pulled down again over the giant Internet search behemoth. China has quite a significant censorship mechanism setup, which has been dubbed the Great Firewall or Golden Shield, for blocking all access to many worldwide sites that Chinese authorities have deemed... 
 

FAA: Number of Drones in US To Triple Before 2020

It is estimated that close to 7 million drones will fly in the skies over the United States by 2020. Which will close to triple the number that is expected to be circulating in the air by the end of 2016, said the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday. Unmanned aircraft systems are going to be the most dramatic growth sector in aviation said the FAA in its report, that forecast some 2.5 million drones would be in use before the end of this year. However, how the market for civilian drones evolves will depend upon the future regulatory and... 
 

FBI: Vehicles More Vulnerable to Hacking Each Day

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the FBI warned this week that the increasing use of computers in autos pose more risks of cyberattacks. This warning follows a high profile demonstration of eight months ago published by Wired that showed a Jeep Cherokee being controlled remotely on the Internet. Shortly afterwards, Fiat Chrysler recalled over 1.4 million vulnerable vehicles. Manufacturers see excellent promise in making vehicles with network capabilities that are advanced for everything from fleet management to entertainment. However,... 
 

Microsoft Has Dropped Support for Bitcoin from It Windows Store

Microsoft quietly has stopped its support of bitcoin payments just a year after adding support for the crypto-currency in its Windows Store. Softpedia the software encyclopedia noticed that change the first, which is confirmed through a note to its customers that they could no longer redeem the Bitcoin in a Microsoft account and that existing balances in the account would be available for making purchases from the Microsoft Store but are not refundable. A public statement has to date not been released by Microsoft about this situation or change... 
 

Honeywell Ends Attempts At United Tech Merger (NYSE:HON)

Honeywell International Inc has ended its bid to acquire rival aircraft parts maker United Technologies Corp. in a proposed $90.7 billion deal. A combination of the two would have created a company with nearly $100 billion in revenue. The company cited United Technologies’ unwillingness to engage in negotiations as the reason for ending the merger attempt. United Tech rejected Honeywell’s offer last week, saying that regulatory delays, required divestitures and customer concerns would outweigh any synergies from combining the companies.... 
 

Devon Energy Slashes Dividend, Employees and Spending

Devon Energy Corp cut its dividend and its capital spending by 75% Tuesday. The company said it would lay off up to 20% of its current staff as the low prices of oil roil companies in the shale oil business. The company, based in Oklahoma City, is a top independent U.S. oil producer. It said on Tuesday it would lay off 1,000 of its staff and another 600 workers would leave later in the year in divestitures. This move by Devon marks the most recent in a series of announcements made by oil companies in the U.S. responding to the crude prices that... 
 

20th Century Fox Cruises To A Record With Deadpool (NASDAQ:FOX)

20th Century Fox’s R-rated Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds, broke box office records during its opening weekend. The movie earned about $135 million over the Valentine’s Day weekend at North American theaters. Previous estimates of expected ticket sales hovered around $70 million. The results mean that Deadpool had the biggest domestic opening on record for an R-rated movie. The new record displaced “The Matrix Reloaded,” which took in $118.3 million in May 2003 (after adjusting for inflation). Deadpool could realistically take in another... 
 

Japanese Economy Contracts More than Anticipated

The economy in Japan shrank more that was expected during the last quarter of 2015 as spending by consumers and exports slumped, adding to policymaker headaches already  wary from damage the rout in the financial market could inflict upon an already fragile recover. Japan’s gross domestic product shrank by 1.4% on an annualized basis for the period from October through December, bigger than a forecast by the market for a decline of 1.2% and matching a drop in the 2015 second quarter. The previous quarter ended with a revised increase of 1.3%.... 
 

Supreme Court Upholds Federal Demand Response Electricity Pricing Model

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that federal regulators can offer price breaks to massive electricity users—like schools, shopping centers, and hospitals—for reducing consumption during peak hours, in order to encourage increased conservancy efforts.  This is a regulatory approach called “demand response,” and it is supposed to lower consumer costs while also improve the infrastructure by reducing system failure risks and blackout frequency. “That practice arose because wholesale market operators can sometimes — say, on a muggy August... 
 

Dogs Are, In Fact, Capable of Human Emotion..Sort Of

The canine has long been Man’s greatest animal companion, a la “Man’s Best Friend.” But while their loyalty is without question we have not always, necessarily, understood the somewhat mystical bond we have with dogs. A new study from the combined efforts of research out of the University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil, and the University of Lincoln, in the United Kingdom examined 17 domesticated dogs to determine that these remarkable animals are actually capable of recognizing human emotions by combining information they gather from their different... 
 

Autonomous Vehicles Making Small Steps Forward

It has been years since Google (and others) began working on technology for a self-driving vehicle. And while the count is up to 7 companies with autonomous vehicles in development (and currently testing on roads in California) there is still more work to be done. On the plus side, the latest report from Google (and the California Department of Motor Vehicles) found that, collectively, these vehicles covered 523,958 miles these vehicles covered between September of 2014 and December of 2015, 424,331 were covered by Google. On the minus side, though,... 
 

Netflix CEO To Invest $100 Million in Education Fund

Netflix has been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, and for good reason. For one, streaming media has grown immensely in popularity, continuously for the past decade or so, which is what has led federal authorities to consider listing the internet as a utility. Of course, Netflix has also been working feverishly to develop original content which has really helped to put pressure on traditional programming networks. As an online, subscription-based, media source, Netflix has a bit more freedom in the depth and breadth of programming,... 
 

Gear VR Immerses User on the Web

With its new app for virtual reality, Samsung created a vastly different way for interacting with the worldwide Web. Samsung is launching a new part of its plans related to virtual reality with the release of a Web browser that is dedicated to the Gear VR headset. The new dedicated app allows people to search the Web through an environment that is panoramic and immerse themselves into a world of Internet without any downloading of content on the smartphone used. The new app, set to be released Wednesday, is able to play all HTML5 video files that... 
 

Look Out Tesla, Electric Porsche Is Going To Happen

If you thought most electric cars were not that cool, except the a Tesla, maybe you would like a new Porsche, an electric model. The first 100% electrically powered Porsche is on its way. Porsche plans to offer an all-electric performance car by the end of the decade. The four-door car, which looks like a futuristic version of today’s Porsche Panamera, will be able to go 310 miles on a single charge, Porsche has claimed. The car will charge quickly, too, according to Porsche, reaching 80% of a full charge in only 15 minutes, enough to drive... 
 

Amazon Pulls Hoverboards from Site

One of the gifts to beat this holiday season was sure to be the hoverboard. While the technology is less like the floating skateboard made famous in Back to the Future Part 2 and more like a Segway with no handle, these “hoverboards” have become quite popular lately. Maybe it is because we are currently living around the time this movie projected our technology would reach this achievement. Perhaps it has something to do with the publicity stunt produced by Funny or Die and Tony Hawk which featured—or so it seemed—a hoverboard. Regardless... 
 

Facebook Fails Forward With Apps ?

If your only experience with Facebook was through one of its many failed apps you would probably think that the company, as a whole, was a massive failure. Of course, you would be wrong; and while the company might have introduced some ideas prematurely or simply did not find the success they expected, EMarketer analyst Debra Williamson notes, “It’s not like these apps are completely a waste of time for Facebook; But I think as standalone experiences they’ve been rather underwhelming.” Ok, fine; but, really, how many Facebook... 
 

Sony Introduces New PlayStation Messages Standalone App for iOS, Android

Video games have undoubtedly become one of the most important and penetrating components of popular culture and a true force in entertainment. It was only a decade or two ago that video games were popular with a small percentage of the population but now it seems that everyone enjoys them. After all, the market is far more versatile and inclusive these days, with games available for all ages and interests. Games are now cinematic, colorful, engaging, and quirky, satisfying every kind of curiosity. Perhaps one reason that video games have become... 
 

New Line Of Midrange Samsung Galaxy Phones Revealed

Samsung has revealed its new line of midrange Galaxy phones today. The reveal showcased the 2016 editions of the Samsung Galaxy A3, A5 and A7. With this new line, Samsung hopes that budget-minded consumers will be attracted by the affordable prices and premium features. The company is also hoping that the phones will give them an edge on the competition. The three new Galaxy A phones are updated and revamped versions of the current Galaxy A3 and A5 and the A7. The new line of phones have frames that combine both metal and glass. The phone also has... 
 

Nokia Releases New $60K VR Camera

Nokia has formally released its new OZO professional VR camera, priced at $60,000. The device was designed and built for use by professional content creators. A preview of the device was released last July and the company has been drumming up excitement for the new camera ever since. The new VR camera was unveiled during an official launch event in California on Monday. The launch event included a live performance by the band Best Coast that was recorded with the new camera and broadcast in full 3D 360 VR from the roof of the Capital Records tower.... 
 

Apple Shares Continue to Slide (NASDAQ:AAPL)

It does not take much negative news to tip the balance on stocks like Apple. Shares of the tech giant were down another 2.5% Wednesday after falling 2.5% on Tuesday to close at $102.71. The once-hot stock is now careering toward the $100-a-share level — a price threshold bulls are hoping will finally hold. Apple’s stock hasn’t closed below $100 since late October 2014. Shares of Apple have lost about 25% of their value from last year’s high and are at their lowest close since August 2015. Once a stock investors used to... 
 

Why The Caribbean Is Great For Winter Travel

If you are looking for a destination to travel to this winter, you should put the Caribbean at the top of your list. With more than 700 islands to choose from, the Caribbean caters for all tastes. Traveling to the Caribbean in the winter has a number of benefits over traveling there during other times of the year. Here are some of the best reasons to make the Caribbean your winter travel destination. Flights Are Cheap During the winter months, flights to the Caribbean are cheaper than during the peak summer months. This is because the airlines have... 
 
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