| Feb 01, 2018 | 4:16 PM EST
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Closing Bell

U.S. indices were mixed Thursday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average being the lone index to survive an afternoon selloff.

The Dow was able to gain 37 points to finish the session at 26,187 while the Nasdaq fell 26 points to 7,386 and the S&P 500 declined 2 points to 2,822.

Gay Rights Groups Caution Amazon Against Moving to 9 Cities

The lack of laws protecting members of the LGBT communities in Texas, Florida, Georgia and five other states make those states ill-suited to house Amazon's (AMZN) second headquarters, gay-rights groups are telling the company, according to USA Today

Austin, Dallas, Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, Indianapolis, Miami, Raleigh and Northern Virginia should not be in consideration with the other 11 cities Amazon is considering.

"We were frankly just stunned that a company with such a great track record of equality and diversity had put all these states into the mix," said Conor Gaughan, the ad-hoc campaign's manager and communications consultant, told USA TODAY.

The groups plan a "No Gay? No Way!" campaign Thursday to pressure Amazon to reconsider. 

U.S. Auto Sales to Suffer in 2018

Rising interest rates will take their toll on U.S. auto sales, industry watcher AutoNation told Reuters Thursday. 

"I think (consumer) incentives have reached the limit of their effectiveness in the marketplace," Mike Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of AutoNation Inc told Reuters. "I think the industry has accepted that (sales) volumes will fall somewhat in 2018 ... and I don't think the industry is going to go over the cliff with insane incentives."

Experts expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at least three times this year as the economy continues to improve. 

Waymo, GM Are the Best at Self-Driving Operations in California

California's Department of Motor Vehicles ranks Google's (GOOGL) Waymo and GM (GM) as the state's two best self-driving vehicle operations. 

Waymo accrued 353,544 miles on California's public roads over a 12 month period last year, the company reported, while GM vehicles drove 131,676 miles, including 125,00 miles on "San Francisco's complex city streets."

"We're really excited about the rate of improvement that we see year-over-year. It's another proof point in our mission to bring an autonomous ride-sharing vehicle to market in 2019," a GM spokesperson told The Verge

Starbucks Adds Visa Credit Card to Loyalty Program 

Starbucks (SBUX) is launching a co-branded Visa credit card which allows users to gain points as part of its loyalty program.

The Starbucks Reward Visa card is through Chase and has an annual fee of $49dollarss. 

It's important to us to make earning rewards as easy for our customers as possible and the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card is a powerful tool for us to do that because of how easily it fits into their daily lives," said Matt Ryan, Starbucks chief strategy officer.

UPS Adds 14 Boeing 747s to Air Fleet

United Parcel Service (UPS) exercised an option to order 14 Boeing (BA) 747-8 jets to add to its fleet. 

The company ordered 14 747s in 2016 and took 14 options. It is exercising all of those options now thanks to what UPS said was accelerating growth opportunities. 

The exercised options, as well as an additional order of four 767Fs, is valued at $6.5 billion based on list prices. All 32 aircraft will be delivered by 2022, the company said. 

"All of the new aircraft will be added to the existing fleet and no existing aircraft are being replaced," UPS said.

iHeart Radio Skips $106 Million Payment to Bondholders

iHeartCommunications Inc., the country's largest radio network, said that it skipped a $106 million payment to bondholders. While the company isn't automatically in default, it is in a 30-day grace period in which the company and its creditors can renegotiate a debt deal. 

iHeart radio has more than $15 billion in debt at its radio business. The company is expected to enter into bankruptcy eventually due to its debt load. 

U.S. Jobless Claims Drop to 230,000

230,000 Americans filed for jobless benefits for the first time last week, a 1,000 claim drop from the week before and below the 235,000 claims that analysts thought would be filed. 

Claims have averaged about 234,500 over the first month of the year, the lowest mark since the late fall and well below the 300,000 mark that would indicate that the labor market is in trouble. 

The U.S. job creation report is due out Friday before the opening bell. 

Big 6 Banks Face Stock-Lending Lawsuit 

Three pension funds filed a lawsuit in New York this week accusing the big six Wall Street banks of conspiring to stifle competition in the lucrative $1 trillion stock-lending market, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. 

The litigation is concerned with stock-lending transactions that involve pension funds, insurance companies and other investors lending their shares to brokerage firms for their customers to then short. Asset managers receive a fee for the stock they lend. 

The banks named in the suit include Bank of America (BAC) , Credit Suisse (CS) , Goldman Sachs (GS) , JPMorgan Chase (JPM) , Morgan Stanley (MS) and UBS Group (UBS)

Alibaba Takes 33% Stake in Ant Financial Following Strong Quarter

Alibaba (BABA) announced that it is exercising the option from a 2014 agreement and taking a 33% stake in payment affiliate Ant Financial.

The Chinese e-commerce company made the announcement following its third-quarter earnings release. Alibaba saw revenue rise 56% in the period to $13.19 billion, topping analyst estimates for the period. 

Net income attributable to shareholders rose 35% while Alibaba's cloud computing unit more than doubled its revenue year over year. 

Toyota Recalls 645,000 Worldwide Over Airbag Issue

Toyota (TM) announced the recall of 645,000 vehicles due to an airbag issue that make cause them not to deploy in the event of an accident. of models including the Prius, the Lexus RX, NX, SUVs, Corolla, Highlander, Noah, Voxy among others. 

The company said that an electric circuit could occur over time, setting off an airbag warning light and stopping the side and front airbags for deploying. 

Elon Musk Sells Out of Boring Co Flamethrowers

What started as a joke turned into a $10 million windfall for Elon Musk's Boring Co. after the company sold out of its promotional flamethrowers in four days. 

The company sold 20,000 flamethrowers at $500 a pop. 

Flamethrowers sold out

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 1, 2018


U.S. futures were pointed lower Thursday before the opening bell, indicating a soft opening for markets one session after a late rally saved the major indices from closing in the red for three straight sessions.

Dow futures contracts were down 0.17%, indicating an open 44 points lower, Nasdaq futures were down 0.17%, for an open 12 points lower, and S&P futures were basically flat. 

In Asia, the Nikkei was the lone major index to close in the green, rising 1.68% while the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite fell 0.75% and 0.97% respectively. 

In Europe, the FTSE 100 was falling 02% while the DAX was basically even and the CAC 40 rose 0.24%. 

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