The chief scientist helping drive Baidu’s (NASDAQ:BIDU) push into artificial intelligence is quitting the Chinese search giant, putting at risk its efforts to put AI at the center of a business revival. Andrew Ng, former head of Google Brain (GOOG, GOOGL), didn’t provide details on his next move except to say he was excited “to continue working toward the AI transformation of our society.”
Disney has been slapped with a lawsuit alleging it ripped off the idea for its Oscar-winning, billion-dollar-grossing Zootopia from a Hollywood veteran whose credits include Total Recall and Minority Report. Gary Goldman claims he pitched the plot, theme and name Zootopia to the studio in 2000 and 2009, but according to Disney (NYSE:DIS), the “lawsuit is riddled with patently false allegations.”
Airbnb is doubling down on China… Not only is the home rental company doubling investments in the country and tripling its local workforce, it’s also got new branding to match. Airbnb (Private:AIRB) has registered Chinese name Aibiying, which means to “welcome each other with love.” The business will also introduce its Trips platform, which helps visitors find interesting experiences, to Shanghai.
Snap closed more than 2% higher on Tuesday after receiving its second Buy rating from a Wall Street firm. “Snap is a very unique tech company that should not be pigeonholed in a particular industry, or investors risk missing the forest for the trees,” Drexel Hamilton said in a research note, assigning a $30 price target. SNAP +1.5% premarket.
Following a wave of ugly developments, UBER is vowing to head down a new road and become a more humane company. The pledge came in a contrite conference call that focused mostly on the firm’s diversity efforts and its search for a COO. Even as it acknowledges past mistakes, the fallout hasn’t damaged its business – last week riders in the U.S. took more trips with Uber than ever before.
The top five places in the global investment banking league table now firmly belong to U.S. banks, according to industry analytics firm Coalition, reflecting their domination over struggling European peers. The gap has widened consistently since 2011, when the U.S.-European split was roughly 50-50. American banks now take in around a two-thirds share of the investment banking revenue pie. Tickers by score: JPM, C, GS, BAC, MS, DB, BCS, CS, HSBC
An ING spokesman has confirmed a Dutch criminal investigation, but wouldn’t comment beyond the information presented in the bank’s annual report. It relates to the “on-boarding of clients, money laundering, and corrupt practices,” according to the 10-K filing, and can result in “significant” penalties. ING -3.8% premarket.
Deutsche Bank won’t be subject to a class action over $3.1B in toxic mortgage losses, according to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, who ruled investors cannot pursue their claims as a group. Separately, the Handelsblatt newspaper reported that Deutsche (NYSE:DB) agreed to a €450M settlement with shareholders in connection with the bankruptcy of Iceland’s Kaupthing.
The SEC will hold a meeting today to vote on rules shortening the amount of time it takes for a securities trade to settle from three to two business days. Wall Street and consumer groups are largely supportive of the effort, as it reduces credit and market risk exposure. The current SEC settlement cycle has not been updated since 1993.
AkzoNobel has rejected a second unsolicited merger proposal from PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG), stating it failed to recognize the value of the company and address significant risks and uncertainties. AkzoNobel’s (OTCQX:AKZOY) board raised concerns in their initial €20.9B rejection on March 9, but said they still have not been addressed. It also warned that a merger would lead to significant job cuts.
After China, Chile, Hong Kong, South Korea and the EU suspended imports, how big is the fallout from Brazil’s rotten meat scandal? Moody’s Investors Service said it’s too soon to quantify the implications for credit ratings, as much will depend on the outcome of the investigation (dubbed “Weak Flesh”) and the reaction by Brazil’s trade partners. Related tickers: BRFS, OTCQX:MRVSY, OTCQX:JBSAY
The U.K. has followed the U.S. by introducing a cabin baggage ban on electronic devices. Laptops, tablets and phones larger than 6.3″ in length will have to be checked in on all direct inbound flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. The British government said the ban followed talks on air security and was “necessary and proportionate.” Related tickers: OTCPK:ICAGY, OTCQX:ESYJY
Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson is “more optimistic than ever” about growth prospects, because refocusing the company on its core defense business has helped make weaponry more affordable for cost-conscious governments, including the Trump administration. Additional growth could come from international customers and Lockheed’s (NYSE:LMT) innovations in 21st century weapons including directed energy.
Amazon isn’t faking its desire to root out counterfeits. As soon as next month, it will start a registry for companies to list their logos and intellectual property with the world’s largest online store, said Peter Faricy, VP of Amazon Marketplace. The registry, currently being tested, will let Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) remove listings and potentially cancel seller accounts.
Payless competitors, including DSW (NYSE:DSW) and Caleres (NYSE:CAL), are watching closely as the struggling discount shoe chain prepares to file for bankruptcy as soon as next week, with plans to close 400-500 stores as it reorganizes. Its been a tumultuous year in retail. Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) just acknowledged “substantial doubt” about its ability to keep operating, raising fresh concerns about a company that has lost more than $10B in recent years.
Costco is ramping up its home grocery delivery efforts by teaming up with a third-party service. Shipt will launch the new offering in Tampa, FL, with plans to move into 50 markets and more than 30M households by the end of 2017. The online service requires a membership, which costs $99 a year for unlimited delivery, but a Costco (NASDAQ:COST) card won’t be required to purchase items through the app.