Business Highlights: Grain deal, tech stock slump


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‘A beacon of hope’: Ukraine, Russia sign grain export deal

ISTANBUL (AP) — Ships full of Ukrainian wheat and other food may be safely sailing across the Black Sea in the next few weeks after Ukraine and Russia signed a UN export deal. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has driven up food prices around the world and overloaded silos of grain stuck in Ukraine. The two countries signed separate export deals with the UN and Turkey. A joint monitoring group will be set up in Turkey to run the operation and both sides pledged not to attack the cargo ships. The UN chief called the deal “a beacon of hope” that will help millions of hungry people but Ukraine’s foreign minister expressed caution, saying he still did not trust Russia.


Tomorrow’s ‘Top Gun’ might have drone wingman, use AI

FARNBOROUGH, England (AP) — Movie fighter pilots are depicted as highly trained military aviators with the skills and experience to defeat adversaries in thrilling aerial dogfights. New technologies, though, are set to redefine what it means to be a “Top Gun.” Algorithms, data and machines are taking on a bigger role in the cockpit. Such changes are hinted at in the movie “Top Gun: Maverick.” The future for fighter pilots was on display this week at the Farnborough International Airshow, near London. Drones have been used extensively in the war between Russia and Ukraine and other modern conflicts. At the Farnborough show, experts said the future of air warfare is likely to be manned and unmanned aircraft working together.


Slump for tech chops off chunk of Wall Street’s winning week

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street gave back some of its strong gains from the week on Friday following discouraging readings on the global economy and another slew of profit reports from big US companies. The S&P 500 lost nearly 1%, ending a three-day rally that had carried it back to its highest level since early June. The Nasdaq led the market lower with a drop of almost 2% following weaker-than-expected profit reports from tech-oriented companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average held up better, in large part because constituent American Express gave an encouraging earnings report. Treasury yields slumped.


Twitter, in Musk fight, posts surprising drop in revenue

LONDON (AP) — Twitter is reporting a quarterly loss as revenue slipped even as user numbers climbed. The social media company’s latest quarterly earnings figures Friday offered a glimpse into how the social media business has performed during a months-long negotiation with billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk over whether he will take over the company. Twitter lost $270 million in the April-June period after revenue slipped 1% to $1.18 billion, reflecting ad industry headwinds and uncertainty over Musk’s acquisition bid. The number of daily active users rose 16.6% to 237.8 million compared to the same period a year before.


Jay Carney, Amazon’s top policy exec, leaves for Airbnb

NEW YORK (AP) — The top policy and communications executive at Amazon and a one-time White House spokesman has been named the head of policy at Airbnb. It is just the latest high-profile departure for Amazon. It comes as the e-commerce giant is facing a shifting consumer landscape and heightened regulatory scrutiny. Jay Carney served as the press secretary for President Barack Obama. Airbnb said Friday that he will join its executive team and work with co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky. Earlier this month, the chief executive of Amazon’s consumer business who built the company’s massive warehouse operation left the company after 23 years. Two of Amazon’s senior Black leaders also left the company last month.


Hyundai exec vows to improve company’s safety track record

DETROIT (AP) — Clogged oil ports, electrical shorts and leaks of brake fluid are only some of the safety problems that have caused multiple fires and forced Hyundai and Kia to recall millions of vehicles in the past seven years. Now, Hyundai, the larger of the two affiliated Korean automakers, has promoted its North American safety chief to global status — an implicit acknowledgment by the company that it needs to address safety in a more robust way. The executive, Brian Latouf, who joined Hyundai in 2019 after 27 years at General Motors, says he will focus on data analysis and testing to detect problems earlier and fix them.


German government agrees on bailout for energy supplier

BERLIN (AP) — The German government will take a roughly 30% stake in energy supplier Uniper as part of a rescue package prompted by surging prices for natural gas and reduced Russian deliveries. Uniper, which has been Germany’s biggest importer of Russian gas, asked for a bailout two weeks ago. The rescue package announced Friday will result in higher prices for consumers. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says a levy for gas customers will start in September or October that could add up to 200 to 300 euros per year to the bill for a family of four. Uniper says a sharp reduction in Russian gas in recent weeks has forced it to buy substitute supplies at significantly higher prices.


Russia’s central bank slashes rate, saying inflation slows

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian central bank diverged from its Western counterparts by slashing its key interest rate just a month after dropping it to where it was before the country sent troops into Ukraine. The bank on Friday lowered its key rate by 1.5 percentage points, to 8%, saying consumer prices are still easing partly because consumer demand has been falling. It says inflation expectations have “significantly decreased,” while a decline in business activity was slower than expected in June. As sanctions have led to economic isolation, the central bank has managed to stabilize the currency and financial system by preventing money from leaving Russia and forcing exporters to exchange most of their foreign earnings into rubles.


Volkswagen CEO will step down by Sept. 1

VIENNA (AP) — Volkswagen has announced that the CEO of the German automaker is stepping down. The company said Friday that Herbert Diess will depart as of Sept. 1 “by mutual consent” with the board. His contract was set to expire in 2025. Diess presided over the automaker at a time of significant change in the industry, including a shift towards producing more electric vehicles. Oliver Blume, who is now CEO of Porsche, will succeed Diess.


The S&P 500 dropped 37.32 points, or 0.9%, to 3,961.63. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 137.61 points, or 0.4%, to 31,899.29. The Nasdaq shed 225.50 points, or 1.9%, to 11,834.11. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies lost 29.81 points, or 1.6%, to 1,806.88.


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