Uber (NYSE:UBER) and Hyundai Motor (OTCPK:HYMLF) are partnering to develop electric air vehicles, joining the global race to make small self-flying cars to ease urban congestion. Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) demonstrated what it called the world’s first artificial human, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) launched an autonomous driving computer and Toyota (NYSE:TM) said it’s building the prototype city of the future in Japan. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is also teaming up with Lamborghini and Rivian to offer its Alexa voice assistant in vehicles.
Go deeper: Markit discusses the auto industry side of the event.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is banning videos that have been manipulated using advanced tools, though the policy “does not extend to content that is parody or satire, or video that has been edited solely to omit or change the order of words.” That could expose the company to new controversy and put it on a slippery slope of deciding which videos are satirical. Late last year, Google (GOOG, GOOGL) updated its ad policy to prohibit the use of deepfakes, while in November, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) said it was considering identifying manipulated photos, videos and audio shared on its platform.
Go deeper: ‘Facebook: Further Growth Potential For 2020’ by The European View.
Black gold and gold surrendered some hefty gains overnight as some speculated Iran would be unlikely to strike against the U.S. in a way that would disrupt crude supplies, and its own exports. “Oil traders have been unwinding their hedges, thinking that Iran’s economic hardships would deter an attack that puts the economy into an even deeper hole,” said Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader. U.S. stock index futures meanwhile continued to show a broad advance, though gains were pared to around 0.2% on reports suggesting Iran was weighing 13 “revenge scenarios” to avenge the death of Qassem Suleimani.
Go deeper: Taylor Dart says oil sentiment remains relatively subdued.
The meatless wars are heating up as plant-based food makers target new product lines after biting into the U.S. burger business. Impossible Foods will introduce imitation ground pork and sausage later this month, including a patty for a new sandwich at dozens of Burger King (NYSE:QSR) restaurants, as the company turns its focus to international expansion in 2020. Rival Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) already began supplying plant-based sausage to Dunkin’ Brands (NASDAQ:DNKN) and Tim Hortons restaurants last year, mainly for breakfast sandwiches.
Go deeper: Starbucks jumps aboard the latest dairy-free milk trend.
Calling it the “next step for us in working life,” Finland’s newly installed prime minister, Sanna Marin, has proposed putting the entire country on a four-day workweek that consists of six-hour workdays. Neighboring Sweden tested out six-hour work days a couple of years ago, and in France, the standard work week was reduced to 35 hours (from 39 hours) in 2000. The corporate world is also experimenting with the idea. In November 2019, Microsoft Japan (NASDAQ:MSFT) revealed that a trial four-day workweek had boosted productivity by 40%.
Killing 25 people and leaving thousands homeless, Australia’s huge bushfires have already burned through more than 25.5M acres of land and the economic costs are adding up. Shane Oliver, AMP’s Sydney-based head of investment strategy, estimates a minimum 0.4% hit on GDP in the March quarter, which could mean growth stalled completely in the period and prompt another interest rate cut as early as February. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also pledged at least $2B in investment over the next two years for a “bushfire recovery fund” to help rebuild devastated regions.
Elon Musk was on site as Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) delivered its first China-made Model 3 sedans to the public at an event in Shanghai, where the automaker began building its foreign car plant just over a year ago. The EV maker also announced the kick-off of its Model Y program in the country (the all-electric crossover offers optional third-row seats and has a 300 mile range). “Ultimately Model Y will have more demand than probably all of the other Tesla cars combined… and will have advanced manufacturing technologies that we will reveal in the future,” Musk told the crowd.
SpaceX (SPACE) launched another 60 satellites in its Starlink network last night, becoming the largest commercial satellite operator. The launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket brings to 182 the number of spacecraft the firm has now put in the sky as part of its plan to beam broadband internet service to Earth. SpaceX has regulatory approval to launch up to 12,000 platforms but has talked of an eventual 40K, depending on how the project develops.
Boeing (NYSE:BA) is reassigning 3,000 workers to other jobs, but does not expect to furlough any staff, as it halts production of its grounded 737 MAX in mid-January. Major supplier Spirit AeroSystems (NYSE:SPR) meanwhile said it would offer voluntary layoffs to some employees due to a lack of “clarity on the timing for resuming MAX production.” The announcements come after American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) and Mexico’s Aeromexico disclosed they were the latest carriers to reach settlements with Boeing over losses resulting from the 737 MAX crisis.