Business briefing

The daily business briefing: July 5, 2017

Volvo commits to making only electric or hybrid vehicles by 2019, Ukraine seizes servers at company linked to cyberattack, and more

1

Volvo says it will shift to only electric and hybrid vehicles by 2019

Volvo said Wednesday that it would phase out cars that only have traditional combustion engines in a major new push into electric motors. "This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car," Volvo's president, Håkan Samuelsson, said in a statement. The Chinese-owned Swedish automaker said that by 2019 every new model it produces will have an electric motor, in what it called a step toward the "historic end" of the technology that has been used to propel cars and trucks for more than a century. Other automakers also have launched pushes into new technology, but Volvo is the first traditional car manufacturer to fully commit to an all electric and hybrid lineup.

2

Ukraine police seize company's servers in cyberattack investigation

Ukraine's Cyber Police on Tuesday seized servers at M.E.Doc, an accounting software firm, as part of the investigation into a "Petya" cyberattack that hobbled computers at companies around the world. Investigators believe that a vulnerability in M.E.Doc's accounting software, which 80 percent of Ukrainians use to file their taxes, helped spread the malware virus in the massive hacking operation, an allegation the company has denied. Investigators said early Wednesday that police seized the servers to "immediately stop" what they described as "new activity" suggesting the hackers might be launching another attack. "Our experts stopped [it] on time," cyber police spokeswoman Yulia Kvitko said.

3

Stock markets simmer down after starting second half of 2017 with gains

World stocks lost steam on Tuesday, easing back after starting the second half of the year with gains a day earlier. One factor reducing investors' tolerance for risk was North Korea's successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which fueled global tensions. Asian shares dropped and South Korea's currency fell to a 16-week low as the U.S., Russia, and China condemned the launch of the missile, which Pyongyang boasted could help it strike "anywhere in the world." European stocks also lost some ground, partly due to profit taking after the region's markets made their biggest jump in more than two months on Monday. U.S. markets were closed Tuesday for the July 4 holiday. U.S. stock futures were mixed early, pointing to a mixed open as trading resumes and investors look ahead to the release of Federal Reserve meeting minutes at 2 p.m., and the federal June jobs report at the end of the week.

4

EU top court says France can pursue case against Uber

The European Court of Justice, the EU's top court, said Tuesday that France can pursue criminal charges accusing Uber of operating an illegal taxi service. A court in Lille, France, found that the UberPop service, which links passengers with unlicensed drivers, amounted to an illegal transportation service. Uber argued that the case was an attempt to regulate an "information society service," or internet company, so the European Commission should have been notified before the French decision. The EU court has already ruled that Uber is a transportation service rather than an internet service, however. "Member states may prohibit and punish the illegal exercise of a transport activity such as UberPop without having to notify the Commission of the draft law in advance," Maciej Szpunar, advocate general at the European Court of Justice, said.

5

Prosecutors ask judge for gag order against Shkreli

Prosecutors have asked a judge to issue a gag order to prevent former drug company and hedge fund executive Martin Shkreli from making public comments on his securities fraud case to prevent him from influencing jurors. Shkreli, who gained notoriety and the nickname "pharma bro" after hiking the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent, last week told reporters that one of his alleged victims made money from his investments, prosecutors told U.S. Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in a letter on Monday. He also appeared to have commented on the case on Twitter, prosecutors said, according to court papers. Shkreli's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said muzzling Shkreli would violate his First Amendment right to free speech, and that his comments are "somewhat natural" for "a young man with a demonstrated history of significant anxiety being at the center of a supremely difficult time in his life."

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