The daily business briefing: May 15, 2017
Lyft and Waymo team up on self-driving cars, new cases of ransomware problems reported, and more
Lyft and Waymo join forces on self-driving cars
Ride-hailing start-up Lyft is teaming up with Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent Alphabet, to develop autonomous vehicle technology, The New York Times reported Sunday, citing people familiar with the agreement. Both companies confirmed the deal. "Waymo holds today's best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world's best transportation," a Lyft spokeswoman said in a statement. Few details were available, but Waymo and Lyft plan to collaborate on pilot projects and product development, potentially heating up the race to take self-driving cars mainstream.
New cases of ransomware problems reported Monday
Thousands of new cases from the global ransomware cyberattack were reported Monday in Asia, although there were no immediate reports of major breakdowns. Security experts had warned of fresh fallout from Friday's attack when people returned to work on Monday and restart their computers. Many workers, especially in Asia, had already left their offices on Friday when software tools stolen from the NSA began disrupting computer systems in many countries. Copycat malware also could result in fresh problems. "We are in the second wave," said Matthieu Suiche of Comae Technologies, a cybersecurity company based in the United Arab Emirates. The so-called WannaCry cyberattack hit more than 200,000 organizations in 150 countries, including Britain's health service and Germany's rail system, by exploiting a Microsoft Windows flaw identified by and stolen from the federal government. Microsoft said the ransomware attack should be a "wake-up call" to governments around the world.
Global stocks mixed, U.S. futures edge up despite cyberattack and North Korea concerns
Stocks struggled for footing in Europe and Asia on Monday as investors digested North Korea's latest missile test and possible fresh disruptions from the so-called WannaCry ransomware cyberattack, which hit in 150 countries starting Friday. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent but Germany's DAX was flat. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index lost early gains and slipped by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose by 0.9 percent and the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.2 percent. U.S. futures edged higher ahead of the open, with Dow Jones Industrial Average futures up 0.2 percent and S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent.
Oil prices jump as Saudi Arabia and Russia agree to extend output cuts
Crude oil futures rose by about 2 percent on Monday, hitting a two-week high after Saudi Arabian and Russian energy ministers backed a nine-month extension of current production cuts. In a joint news conference, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the agreement, led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, "needs to be extended as we will not reach the desired inventory level" by the end of June. The deal to keep the output cuts in place through the first quarter of next year still has to be approved by all sides at OPEC's May 25 meeting. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said "that everyone is committed" and he sees no reason "for any country to quit."
Western Digital seeks arbitration to block Toshiba chip unit sale
Western Digital said Monday that it had started arbitration procedures with the International Chamber of Commerce to stop its partner, Toshiba, from selling its microchip arm without a mutual agreement. The two companies jointly operate Toshiba's main semiconductor plant. Toshiba is trying to sell its NAND chip producer, but Western Digital's bid for the business came in below those of other suitors. Toshiba is counting on the sale to raise billions to cover cost overruns at its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse, which has sought bankruptcy protection. Despite the latest potential setback, Toshiba shares rose by 4.2 percent on Monday on the news that it is making progress toward limiting its nuclear liabilities in the U.S.