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  • U.S. stocks were lower on Monday as investors assessed the G20’s decision to drop a pledge to keep global trade free and open and as oil prices fell.
  • Sprouts was up 3.9 percent after Bloomberg reported that grocer Albertsons held preliminary talks to merge with the natural and organic foods grocer.
  • The S&P 500 has risen about 11 percent since early November.
  • Last week, the central bank raised interest rates for the first time this year but stuck to its outlook for two more hikes this year.


Albertsons held preliminary merger talks with Sprouts

  • Bloomberg said the early stage discussions took place in recent weeks and involved a plan to take Sprouts private.
  • Albertsons is backed by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.
  • Representatives for Albertsons and Sprouts did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Uber president Jeff Jones quits, deepening turmoil

  • Jones quit less than seven months after joining the San Francisco company, an Uber spokesman said on Sunday.
  • In a statement to Reuters, Jones said he could not continue as president of a business with which he was incompatible.
  • “We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best,” an Uber spokesman said in an emailed statement.

New Intel Technology Bridges Gap Between Speedy Conventional Memory, Longer-Term Storage

  • The new storage drives, which Intel is making widely available on Sunday, are based on technology called 3D XPoint.
  • Intel claims the raw 3D XPoint technology is 1,000 times faster than the NAND flash commonly used in storage drives.
  • It is still about 1% the speed of temporary memory called DRAM, or dynamic random-access memory.
  • Intel expects 3D XPoint to account for 10% of the memory division’s revenue in 2017, “ramping much more into 2018”.

IBM launches enterprise-ready blockchain service

  • IMB’s new product called IBM Blockchain was the first service for developers to build enterprise-grade technology using Hyperledger Fabric.
  • IBM has launched a service that will allow businesses to build applications on its cloud using blockchain code from the Hyperledger Project, led by the Linux Foundation.
  • Banks involved include Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Toronto-Dominion Bank.
  • The Fabric blockchain can process more than 1,000 transactions per second and has the necessary features to be used by large enterprises to build their applications, IBM said.

Google to Simplify YouTube Advertiser Controls Amid Outcry Over Extremist Videos

  • Alphabet to review policies to make sure ads wouldn’t unwittingly appear next to extremist videos.
  • Google already provides controls that allow advertisers to choose where their ads go, said Matt Brittin, Google’s president for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
  • But advertisers weren’t using such tools, perhaps because they were too complex, he said.

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James Comey, Mike Raogers Testify on Wiretapping, Russia

  • The FBI and NSA directors take questions about Russia’s interference in 2016 election and Trump’s wiretapping claims.
  • Rep. Tom Rooney (R., Fla.), who chairs a subcommittee that oversees the National Security Agency, reveals his big concern: he’s worried he will have a hard time reauthorizing an expiring section of the Patriot Act later this year.

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Eurozone Wage Growth Edges Up, But Remains Sluggish

  • A pickup in wages is essential if ECB officials are to be convinced they will meet their inflation target.
  • The annual rate of inflation exceeded the ECB’s target of just below 2% for the first time in four years during February.

Vodafone Looks for Dominance in India

  • Merger of Indian unit with Idea Cellular would create country’s largest wireless operator, with almost 400 million customers.
  • Vodafone and Idea Cellular, which are respectively India’s No. 2 and No. 3 mobile operators, would overtake Bharti Airtel as the country’s leading carrier.
  • The two sides said in January that they were exploring a merger.

IBM and Wanda form China cloud computing partnership

  • IBM and a unit of China’s Dalian Wanda, a property and entertainment conglomerate, agreed on Sunday to team up to provide cloud services to Chinese companies.
  • Through a newly formed venture, Wanda Cloud Company, they will offer select IBM cloud infrastructure and platform as a service (IaaS and PaaS) technologies in China.
  • In November, Alibaba Holdings’ cloud unit announced plans to open four new data facilities outside China in a bid to grab market share from leading players and Microsoft.

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  • The Dutch East India Company was established. During its 196-year history, it became one of the world’s most powerful companies. (1602)
  • English physicist/astronomer Sir Isaac Newton died in London at age 84. (1727)
  • Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones became the first to fly a hot-air balloon nonstop around the world. (1999)

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