Business briefing

The daily business briefing: August 10, 2017

North Korea tensions continue to drag down stocks, Tesla works on autonomous electric trucks that can travel in packs, and more 

1

North Korea tensions continue to weigh on stocks

U.S. stock futures pointed to early losses on Thursday as rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea continued to drag down global markets. Adding to Wednesday's modest losses, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped by 0.3 percent, S&P 500 futures fell by 0.4 percent, and Nasdaq-100 futures sank by 0.6 percent. "Traders would require nerves of steel to start buying into the stock market now, given standoff between the U.S. and North Korea," said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets U.K., in a note to clients. European stocks also fell on Thursday as two days of uncertainty continued with North Korea defying U.S. warnings and unveiling a plan to fire missiles into waters near the tiny Pacific island of Guam, a U.S. territory with a military base.

2

Tesla develops autonomous trucks capable of moving in 'platoons'

Tesla is developing a self-driving electric semi-truck that will be capable of driving in "platoons," with several of the vehicles automatically following a lead truck, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing emails exchanged between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles discussing potential road tests of the trucks. In California, state officials met with Tesla "to talk about Tesla's efforts with autonomous trucks," state DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez told Reuters.

3

Coen brothers to write, produce Western series for Netflix

Oscar-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, best known for their award-winning films like Fargo, No Country for Old Men, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, are headed to Netflix. The streaming giant announced Wednesday that the Coen brothers have signed on to write, direct, and produce a Western anthology series called The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. The series will be comprised of six stories about the American frontier. "The Coens are visionary directors, masterful storytellers, and colorful linguists. We are thrilled for Netflix to become home to the full range of their talents," said Netflix's vice president of original content, Cindy Holland. Tim Blake Nelson will star in the project, slated to debut in 2018.

4

Walmart apologizes for back-to-school display marketing guns

Walmart issued an apology Wednesday for a display marketing guns as back-to-school items, and said it was trying to identify the store behind the sign. A photo spread quickly on social media showing a sign reading "Own the school year like a hero" placed over a glass case containing guns. After a torrent of criticism on Twitter, Walmart said the display was "truly awful" and "horrible." A company spokesperson, Charles Crowson, said Walmart was "not happy" about the controversy, and was "working diligently" to get to the bottom of it.

5

Wisconsin state Senate leader says votes lacking for Foxconn incentives

Wisconsin's Republican state Senate majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald, said Wednesday that he was not sure he would have the votes needed to pass a $3 billion incentive package to get Apple supplier Foxconn to build a promised factory in the state. President Trump and Foxconn announced last month that the Taiwanese electronics giant would invest $10 billion in the plant, and Gov. Scott Walker (R) said it would create 12,000 jobs. Assembly Republicans said they planned to start voting on the tax breaks meant to be part of the deal next week, despite Fitzgerald's concerns.

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