Market Business News publishes news related to business and technology. Our articles contain hyperlinked references to all sources of data, ensuring that what you read is credible and trustworthy.
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Market Business News articles that stood out in 2017:
June 16, 2017 – Amazon acquiring Whole Foods for $13.7 billion
Amazon.com Inc., commonly known as Amazon, the US electronic commerce and cloud computing giant that is rapidly breaking into the home-delivery grocery business, announced that it has agreed to purchase Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 billion in an all-cash transaction. This will be Amazon’s largest acquisition to date.
Whole Foods is a US supermarket chain specialized in selling foods with no artificial colors, preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, or hydrogenated fats.
Amazon’s giant purchase is part of its ambitious plan to expand its presence in the American food and grocery sector, a market that is worth more than $800 billion annually.
June 9, 2017 – Pound sterling plummeted following UK election
The British pound plummeted shortly after it became clear that the Conservative party had failed to secure a parliamentary majority. Sterling fell to a low of $1.2635, and then rebounded to $1.277 later on in the day.
June 4, 2017 – Toyota ends its electric car partnership with Tesla
Japanese auto-manufacturing giant Toyota Motor Corporation has ended its electric car partnership with Tesla. Although Toyota announced the sales of its last Tesla shares in June 2017, they had been sold at the end of 2016.
Toyota starting buying shares in California-based Tesla in 2010. The two companies had great hopes for the future. However, partly due to one (Tesla) being too adventurous and the other (Toyota) a very conservative player, the partnership soon fizzled out.
Toyota is preparing to soon launch its own completely electric car.
May 21, 2017 – No more human air traffic controllers at London City Airport
London City Airport’s air traffic control tower will soon be replaced with a remotely-operated ‘digital air traffic control tower’. The tower, which will be 50 metres tall – as tall as a 15-storey building – will overlook the runway.
It will have fourteen cameras and sensors, which will allow it to send 360-degree videos of the airfield to a brand-new operations room in Swanwick, Hampshire, where the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), Britain’s leading air traffic control provider, is based.
May 15, 2017: China pledges mega investment in ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy
China announced that it has pledged to invest at least $124 billion in an ambitious plan to help rebuild public infrastructure and enhance its trade links with the rest of the world. The project – ‘One Belt, One Strategy’ – was described by President Xi Jinping as the New Silk Road.
Presdient Xi said:
“We should build an open platform of cooperation and uphold and grow an open world economy. Spanning thousands of miles and years, the ancient silk routes embody the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit.”
May 12, 2017: Windows 10 hits 500 million monthly active devices milestone
Microsoft’s Windows 10 now has more than 500 million ‘monthly active devices’, which is an impressive feat given that it was released less than 24 months ago. The milestone announcement was made by Sayta Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, at the company’s Build 207 Developer Conference in Seattle, USA.
According to Microsoft, there are:
– 100 million commercial Office 365 monthly users
– 140 million Cortana monthly active users
– 12 million organizations within the Azure Active directory
– 90+% of Fortune 500 companies now use Microsoft Cloud
May 5, 2017: Apple announces $1 billion advanced manufacturing fund for USA
Apple Inc., an American multinational technology giant, headquartered in Cupertino, California, announced today that it is launching a $1 billion fund to invest in advanced manufacturing companies in the United States.
The announcement is bound to be welcomed by President Donald Trump and his administration, which is trying to encourage companies to create more American jobs.
April 25, 2017: Flying vehicles coming soon, says Uber
Uber Technologies Inc., a San Francisco-based transportation network company that operates in over 570 cities across the world, says that it plans to demonstrate its flying vehicles by the end of this decade in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area in the USA, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
If all goes according to plan, Uber expects to have a fleet of flying taxis in operation by 2023.
April 19, 2017: Theresa May announces snap general election, pound surges
British Prime Minister Theresa may announced a snap general election for 8th June, 2017. The news appears to have helped push up the pound sterling significantly. The pound appreciated 2.2% against the US dollar to $1.2846, its highest level since early October 2016. It also rose against the euro by 1.4% to €1.1968.
Ms. May said: “The only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election.”
11 April, 2017: Tesla becomes America’s most valuable automaker
Last week, Tesla overtook Ford, and this week General Motors, making it today America’s most valuable automaker. Despite making a $773 million loss last year, the California-based automaker, energy storage company, and solar panel manufacturer has investors optimistic about its future potential, especially as it nears the launch of its mass-market, all-electric Model 3 sedan.
This week, Tesla’s stock increased again, closing at $312.39 per share on Monday, pushing the company’s market value to $50.887 billion, which is $1 million more than General Motors’.
April 4, 2017: Graphene membrane turns seawater into drinking water, say scientists
Scientists at the University of Manchester in England say they have developed a scalable graphene membrane that can turn seawater into drinking water by removing the salt. This amazing breakthrough could help millions of people across the globe who do not have access to clean drinking water.
Graphene, which is one million times thinner than a single strand of human hair, is an ultra-thin material comprising a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a six-sided honeycomb pattern. Graphene is 300 times stronger than steel and harder than a diamond – but it is incredibly flexible.
March 30, 2017: Samsung launched new S8 and S8+ smartphones
Samsung, the Seoul-based multinational conglomerate, has unveiled its flagship S8 and S8+ smartphones. This is the company’s most important launch since the release of the Note 7, which was a disaster. The Galaxy S8 is available with a 5.8-inch screen, while the slightly larger S8+ has a 6.2-inch screen.
The BBC quoted Ben Wood from the CCS tech consultancy, who said: “The Galaxy S8 is arguably the most important launch of the last 10 years for Samsung and every aspect will be under the microscope following the Note 7 recall.”
Mar 16, 2017: Artificial Intelligence now closely linked to business competitiveness
The use of artificial intelligence, commonly referred to as AI, is today a major factor in business competitiveness, spreading to every corner of major companies across the globe, says a new study carried out by Tata Consultancy Services.
The study, which polled 835 senior managers in thirteen global industry sectors, found that 84% of respondents believed that the use of AI was vital for competitiveness. Half of all respondents described technology as ‘transformative‘.
Mar 5, 2017: Google developing Pixel 2, a new smartphone for 2017
Google, the California-based multinational technology giant, specializing in Internet-related services and products, confirmed that it is developing a new Pixel smartphone for 2017. One of the Pixel’s major drawbacks, according to consumers, is its price. A Pixel smartphone today starts at $650, while the bigger Pixel XL starts at $769.
The new Pixel – Pixel 2 – will probably be within the price tags of the next-gen iPhone and upcoming Samsung S8.
Feb 20, 2017: Amazon creating 5,000+ jobs in UK in 2017
Amazon.com, the Seattle-based electronic commerce and cloud computing giant, says it plans to create at least five thousand new jobs in the United Kingdom in 2017, boosting its total workforce in the country to 24,000 by the end of this year. The new posts will be split across its new London headquarters – which is opening later in 2017 – three fulfillment centres in Daventry, Doncaster and Tilbury, and development centres across the country.
Feb 10, 2017: Tim Cook Apple’s CEO, ‘very optimistic’ regarding UK post-Brexit
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc., the California-based multinational technology giant, said in a recent meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May that the UK would be ‘just fine’ outside the European Union. Mr. Cook said he was ‘very optimistic’ about Britain’s future after leaving the economic bloc. His comments follow Apple’s announcement in 2016 to build a new UK HQ in London.
Feb 2, 2017: Electric cars may reduce oil consumption by 2m barrels per day by 2025
Global progress in the low-carbon transition is being seriously underestimated by the world’s major oil companies, according to a new report from the Carbon Tracker Initiative think tank and the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London.
If oil & gas multinationals continue to assume demand for oil will expand unabated, they will most probably end up with too much fossil fuel assets on their hands.
Jan 28, 2017: Driverless bus showcased at London’s Heathrow airport
Heathrow, London’s largest airport, showcased a driverless bus made by French electronic autonomous systems specialist firm Navya. It was the first time that Navya’s ARMA – a fully autonomous electric shuttle bus – was demonstrated in the United Kingdom.
Jan 15, 2017: SpaceX successfully launched Falcon 9, an unmanned rocked, into orbit
SpaceX, formarly known as the Space Exploration technologies Corporation, the Californian-based aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, launched an unmanned rocket – Falcon 9 – successfully into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The launch marked an important milestone for the company, and returned it to flight for the first time since the launch-pad explosion in September 2016.
Jan 7, 2017: British Prime Minister Theresa May to meet new US President Donald Trump this spring
The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May will visit America’s new President Donald Trump this spring, not long after his inauguration, Downing Street has informed. At the top of May’s agenda will be preliminary talks about a new UK-US trade deal after Britain completes its separation from the European Union.
Jan 3, 2017: Tesla narrowly missed 2016 target and delivered 76,230 vehicles
Tesla, the California-based automaker, energy storage company, and solar panel manufacturer, missed its 80,000 target for 2016, and delivered 76,230 vehicles. In Q4 of 2016, a total of 22,200 vehicles were delivered – 12,700 were Model S, while 9,500 were Model X.
Terms of the Day
Every day, Market Business News adds two or three new terms to its Financial Glossary. The latest additions are:
Wholesale Banking – the practice of borrowing and lending money on a huge scale. Wholesale banking customers include governments, giant corporations, local authorities, pension funds, and other financial institutions.
Wholesale banking is similar to retail banking, in that there are lenders, borrowers and customers. The main difference is the scale – transactions in wholesale banking are enormous.
Whole Life Insurance – provides people with lifetime coverage – there are not set periods – it covers you until the day you die. As opposed to term life insurance, whole life insurance comes with a cash value which acts as a savings component. It allows the policyholder to accumulate tax-deferred savings.
White Shoe Firm – a leading firm, typically based in New York or Boston, that used to be populated mainly by white Americans of British protestant ancestry (WASPs – White Anglo Saxon Protestants). White Shoe Firms are all Fortune 500 companies and have been around for a long time.
The term originates from a type of white shoe that Ivy League students used to wear. These firms would recruit them after they graduated.
White Knight – a friendly company that comes in during a hostile takeover attempt and launches a bid for the target company. The target company prefers to be taken over by the white knight rather than the black knight (the hostile bidder).
The term ‘white knight’ also means a company that steps in to prevent another firm from total collapse.
White Goods – major household appliances that have historically been manufactured with a white enamel surface. Examples include refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, water coolers, stoves (UK: cookers), and washing machines.
White goods contrast with brown goods, which include such devices as radios, televisions, and computers.
White Elephant – something that cost a fortune to create and disappoints because it did not bring the benefits that people had expected. A white elephant is a loss-maker – maintaining it is extremely expensive.
In ancient Siam (Thailand), the King would give an albino elephant (white elephant) to subordinates he did not like. Albino elephants were holy creatures, people worshiped them – you could not abandon them. However, they required a special diet and did not work – they were high maintenance. That is where the notion of expensive and loss-making for the modern term ‘white elephant’ comes from.
White Collar – refers to jobs done in an office, where the employees do mental, non-manual, clerical or administrative type work. Most white collar employees work behind a desk.
Blue collar workers do manual work, they work outside the office. In North America, a pink collar worker is a female employee who works in the service sector.
Hundreds of years ago, white collar workers used to represent a small proportion of the workforce. Today, especially in the rich nations, they make up the majority of workers.
Whistleblower – an employee who publicly reports illegal, unethical, improper, or immoral activities that are or have been going on in his or her place of work. In a very small percentage of cases, the whistleblower is reporting on somewhere he or she does not work.
Exposing the alleged activity must be in the public interest, and is generally classified in a number of ways: a violation of the organization’s policy; a miscarriage of justice; gross incompetence; a threat to public interest; against the law of the land; a violation of the organization’s rules; a national security threat; a danger to a person’s or people’s safety or health; fraudulent or corrupt activities; or a risk or actual damage to the environment.
Some whistleblowers place themselves in great danger the moment they expose the ‘secret’ – they may lose their job, face public ridicule and humiliation, be threatened, sued, or even killed.
Whisper Number – the unpublished, unofficial earnings per share forecasts for a publicly-listed firm. A broker, investment house, some other institution, or even a website may get the expert opinions and ‘gut feelings’ of those in the investment community. This priveleged data – the whisper number – is passed on to preferred customers, or paying subscribers in the case of a website.
The whisper number is different from the consensus estimate, which is published and uses official data that the company has made public.
Whipsaw – a term used when traders lose money because the market moved in an opposite-to-expected direction immediately after the purchase of a security or currency. If you buy 1,000 ABC Inc. shares, expecting them to rise, and the company releases a letter hours after your purchase saying that the company has problems, its share value will fall. If the security’s value continues down – when there is not way out for you – we say that ‘you have been whipsawed’.
Hours before Britons voted on June 23rd, 2016, to decide whether to remain in or leave the European Union, billions of pounds sterling were purchased. Speculators had expected Britons to vote to remain, and that the pound would rise the next day, after which they could sell sterling and make lots of money.
However, the electorate voted to leave the EU, and the pound plummeted – the speculators lost a lot of money; they were whipsawed.
Wheel of Retailing – also known as the Retail Wheel, is a major retailing hypothesis. It proposes that retailers enter the market selling cheaply and accepting low margins and status.
As they become more established they start pushing up their prices and move upmarket. Eventually, they are among the most expensive sellers – that is, until a newcomer arrives and starts doing exactly what they did when they first came in. Then, the upmarket retailer has to reduce prices in order not to lose customers.
Wharf – a man-made structure built along the shore or in a harbor where ships can moor, their passengers and crew can board and disembark, and cargo can be loaded and unloaded. Some wharfs have warehouses, piers, and other facilities needed for handling the ships.
Some old wharfs have become famous tourist attractions, such as Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California, while others, like Canary Wharf in East London, have become major business and financial centers.
There are two ways the plural of the word can be written: 1. Wharfs, or 2. Wharves.
Wetting Ability – refers to how well or badly a fluid spreads evenly and uniformly over a surface. For example, if I pour engine oil onto a glass table, it will spread evenly.
Mercury, on the other hand, will not – it will bead up into lots of mercury blobs. Mercury has very low wetting ability, while that of engine oil is very high.
Water is somewhere in between. You can increase water’s wetting ability by adding a wetting agent.
Wet Loan – a type of mortgage in which the funds are released much earlier, usually before all the paperwork has been completed.
Wet loans, which are forbidden in some US states, are useful when the buyer has to act swiftly, as is usually the case in a sellers’ market.
A wet loan is the opposite of a dry loan, in which funds are not released until all the documentation has been completed, checked, and signed.
Welfare State – a concept of government in which the state has the duty to protect and promote the physical, social, and economic well-being of all its citizens. The system is based on the principles of equal opportunity, public responsibility, and the equitable distribution of wealth.
The welfare state emerged after World War II in the United Kingdom, and soon spread across Europe. Today, every advanced economy (rich nation) has some kind of welfare state.
It is a controversial subject – most people either passionately believe in it or hate it.
Weighting – a technique that statisticians use when their sample population is not representative of the country’s or a region’s population.
For example, if 30% of the sample population is female, compared to (approx.) 50% in the general population, the female and male respondents will need to be ‘weighted’. Otherwise, the result of the survey will be biased or inaccurate.
Weight of Evidence – a measure of evidence on one side versus the evidence on the other side of a theory, argument, or any issue.
It is a measure of how compelling the evidence is. The term is used either when there are two sides to an issue, or when there are three or more issues.
Also known as WoE, it is used in policy-making, statistics, science, information theory, psychology, business, and the law and courts.
Did you know?
Center vs. Centre
Many words in American English that end in -er end in -re in British English.
American ‘-er’ – British ‘-re’
Liter – Litre
Center – Centre
Theater – Theatre
Fiber – Fibre
Meter (centimeter, kilometer, etc.) – Metre (centimetre, kilometre, etc.)
Maneuver – Manoeuvre
Somber – Sombre
Meager – Meagre
Specter – Spectre
Note: The following words are spelled identically – with -re – in both American and British English:
Ogre – Mediocre – Massacre – Acre
Gas vs. Petrol vs. Natural Gas
In the United States and Canada (North America), the word ‘gas‘ on its own means ‘gasoline’, the fuel we put in our cars.
In the United Kingdom, the word ‘gas‘ on its own means the fuel we use in our kitchens to cook with or to heat our homes. When referring to the fuel for our cars, people in the British Isles, including Ireland, say ‘petrol‘. Australians and New Zealanders also say ‘petrol’.
When North Americans are talking about the fuel we use in our kitchens, they tend to say ‘natural gas‘ or ‘butane gas‘.
There are times North Americans use just the word ‘gas’ on its own for the cooking fuel, as in: “Can you smell gas?” or “There was a huge gas explosion downtown this morning…”
The terms ‘natural gas’ and ‘butane gas’ exist in British English, but are only used when talking about the oil & gas industry.
In American English, you fill up your car at a ‘gas station‘, which in British English is called a ‘petrol station‘. The term ‘filling station’ is used in both forms of the English language.
Check vs. Cheque
The verb ‘To Check’ is spelled the same in all English-speaking countries. In both American and British English, the following sentence has the same spelling:
“Could you check last month’s unemployment figures again before publishing the press release, please?”
When the word is a noun, the spelling may vary.
– When it means an order to a bank to pay a specific sum from the drawer’s account, written on a specially printed form, the spelling is: 1. Check in American English. 2. Cheque in British English.
An American would write: “I have lost my checkbook.”
A Briton or Irish person would write: “I have lost my chequebook.”
– When the noun means to examine or revise, the spelling is the same in all English-speaking nations. Britons, North Americans, Irish citizens, Australians and New Zealanders write the following sentence with the same spelling:
“Tomorrow my medical check-up is at 2pm.”
Licence vs. License
There are differences between American and British English business words that go beyond just their spelling – their meanings also change.
In the United States, LICENSE is the correct spelling for the noun and verb.
Noun: “That restaurant has a LICENSE to sell alcoholic beverages.”
Verb: “The company LICENSED its name to others.”
In the United Kingdom, LICENSE is a verb, and LICENCE is a noun.
British and Irish people write:
Noun: “That restaurant has a LICENCE to sell alcoholic beverages.”
Verb: “The company LICENSED its name to others.”
Flat vs. apartment
In the real estate market, there are some differences between British and American English. While Americans call an agent who sells and buys properties on behalf of clients a realtor, that person or firm is known as an estate agent in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
For a suite of rooms forming one home in a building, Americans say ‘apartment‘. Britons and Irish people say ‘flat‘.
The word ‘apartment‘ exists in the UK and Ireland – it tends to mean a posh flat. In the UK/Ireland, you are more likely to hear ‘He lives in a luxury apartment,’ than ‘He lives in a luxury flat’ (luxury flat is possible). However, as texts become increasingly read by people all over the world, the differences in meanings are becoming blurred.
According to House Network, a British realtor (British English: estate agent):
“Apartments are typically located in complexes of buildings or gated communities, sometimes with a management office nearby, and often with a dedicated community convenience shop, amongst other amenities like communal gardens and parking areas.”
“An apartment can consist of many rooms, potentially spread across a couple of floors inside a building; a flat will, as the name suggests, be all on one level of a building.”
When you are directing people in an apartment building (British: block of flats), remember that the American first floor is the British ground floor, while the British first floor is the American second floor.
In countries that use British English, street level is the ground floor, while in American English it is the first floor.
Labor vs. Labour
When a word with at least two syllables ends in ‘-our’ in British English, Americans drop the ‘u’ and spell it as ‘-or’.
When Americans write the following words, they drop the ‘u’:
Labor, Favorite, Honor, Color
In Britain, Ireland, Canada and Australasia, the letter ‘u’ is included in the spelling of those words:
Labour, Favourite, Honour, Colour
Billion vs. Trillion
In American English, one billion is one-thousand million – 1,000,000,000.
In British English, the meaning of one billion has changed over the past few decades. It used to mean one million million – 1,000,000,000,000 – but today it has the same meaning as in American English, i.e. one thousand million or 1,000,000,000.
The term ‘milliard’, which means one thousand million in both English and American English, has now largely been superseded by billion in both versions of the English language.
In American English, one trillion is a million million – 1,000,000,000,000.
In this case too, the British English meaning of trillion has changed. It used to mean a million million million – 1,000,000,000,000,000,000, but today it has the same meaning as in the United States, i.e. one million million or 1,000,000,000,000.