U.S. major averages were mixed Wednesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing the day in the red, its first losing session of the week.
The Dow fell 0.16%, or 39 points to 24,748, while the Nasdaq rose 0.19%, or 14 points to 7,295 and the S&P 500 rose 0.08%, or 2 points to 2,709.
Germany Will Seek Exemptions From U.S. Sanction on Russia
Germany will seek exemptions from U.S. sanctions against Russia during a visit to Washington DC this week, German officials said.
In addition to concerns about the sanctions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also push the Trump administration about policies that aren't conducive to international trade.
"It will not be an easy visit," a German official said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
German conglomerates Siemens, Daimler and Volkswagen all have business ties with people subject to the sanctions.
The U.S. is punishing Russia for its interference in the 2016 presidential election.
ZTE Delays Earnings Release After U.S. Bans Qualcomm Collab
Chinese cellphone handset-maker ZTE (ZTCOY) announced that it is delaying the release of its quarterly earnings as it digests the fallout from the U.S. decision to ban sales of U.S.-made products to the company.
The U.S. Commerce Department said that the company violated terms of a deal last year to avoid selling technology to Iran and North Korea due to sanctions.
"The board meeting to consider and approve the 2018 first quarterly report will be postponed to a later date to be determined by the Company," the company said in a filing with Hong Kong's stock exchange Wednesday.
The hit for ZTE could be big as 65% of the phones it shipped last year were made by San Diego-based Qualcomm (QCOM) .
Amazon Teams With Best Buy to Sell Smart TVs
Best Buy will sell more than 10 different 4K and HD Fire TV Edition models from Toshiba and Insignia, starting this summer.
"Amazon and Best Buy have a long history of working together, and today we take our partnership to a new level," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. "These Fire Edition smart TVs by Insignia and Toshiba deliver beautiful visuals and all the movies and TV shows you love, with an experience that gets better every day with Alexa. We could not have a better partner in this endeavor."
"Our goal is to enrich the lives of our customers by offering them the very best products and services, whether they come to us online, visit our stores, or invite us into their homes," said Hubert Joly, Best Buy chairman and CEO. "Our partnership with Amazon is exciting because we believe Fire TV Edition delivers an incredible user experience and further strengthens the growing connection between home theater, home automation and voice control."
Howard Schultz Was 'Embarrassed' and 'Ashamed' Over Starbucks Arrests
Starbucks (SBUX) Executive Chairman Howard Schultz told CBS that he was "embarrassed" and "ashamed" over an incident involving the police and two African American people arrested at one of his stores in Philadelphia.
The men were reportedly waiting in the Starbucks for a friend when the manager of the store told them to pay or leave. After refusing the police were called and their arrest was videotaped and went viral.
The company has been in damage control since, leading to Schultz' interview on CBS.
NEW: @Starbucks Exec. Chairman Howard Schultz confirms to @GayleKing the manager involved in the racial incident is no longer with the company. "I don't think she intended when she made the call for police to arrive, and arrest the two young men." pic.twitter.com/HfOn1OJ5BR— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) April 18, 2018
Leaked Tesla Email Says Company Is Upping Model 3 Production Target
Elon Musk and Tesla (TSLA) are doubling down on Model 3 production, upping production targets to 6,000 per week. The letter, which was obtained by Jalopnik, comes days after the company announced that it was temporarily halting production of the vehicle due to production issues.
However, the company now plans to kick production into high gear with "24/7" production by June to reach that 6,000 unit goal. The company plans to up production from 2,250 units last week to between 3,000 and 4,000 units per week next month.
Musk also provided a vision for a path to profitability in the letter.
"A fair criticism leveled at Tesla by outside critics is that you're not a real company unless you generate a profit, meaning simply that revenue exceeds costs. It didn't make sense to do that until reaching economies of scale, but now we are there," Musk said.
"Going forward, we will be far more rigorous about expenditures. I have asked the Tesla finance team to comb through every expense worldwide, no matter how small, and cut everything that doesn't have a strong value justification."
Facebook to Comply With Stricter EU Privacy Rules
Europe has a set of new data privacy laws that will take effect in May and Facebook (FB) announced that it will comply with these new laws once they take effect.
Facebook says that it will first roll out new privacy protections for users in Europe before expanding them to other users around the world.
Facebook will ask users to agree to their updated terms of service and data policy. European users will see these requests this week.
The law, known as General Data Protection Regulation tightens user control of personal data beginning May 25. Companies not complying with the law face fines.
U.S. futures were climbing ahead of the market open Wednesday, building off the momentum of two consecutive days of strong market gains.
Dow futures were rising 0.37%, indicating a 91 point increase, while Nasdaq futures rose 0.38%, indicating a 26 point increase, and S&P futures gained 0.41%, indicating an 11 point increase.
World markets were mostly positive, with Asia showing signs of recovery after a couple of rough days of trading. The Nikkei led the way, rising 1.42%, while the Hang Seng climbed 0.74% and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.8%.
In Europe, the DAX in Germany was basically even, while the CAC 40 rose 0.33%, and the FTSE 100 gained 0.84% with about four hours left in trading.