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Apple scales back car ambitions

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is scaling back plans to build actual self-driving cars, and will instead focus on creating autonomous systems, NYT reports. It follows complications over the last few years, including shifting priorities, unrealistic deadlines and lack of a clear vision for the end product. In the meantime, Apple is focusing on a self-driving campus shuttle called PAIL – short for “Palo Alto to Infinite Loop.”

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Sony Music joins firm to calculate royalties for DJ mixes

Sony Music (NYSE:SNE) has become the first major customer of a start-up working to distribute money to musicians and record labels when songs are used in DJ sets and mashups. That means the start-up, Dubset Media, has an in with one of the world’s biggest music companies. It had already partnered with about 35,000 smaller labels and publishers. The average DJ mix is about 64 minutes long, containing 22 songs with interests held by 100 different rights holders, Dubset says; its technology can calculate royalties based on how much of…

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Adtran's new deployment promising to extend reach from fiber's end

Adtran (ADTN +0.9%) is rolling out a new G.fast model to spread what it’s calling “gigabit-to-the-basement” to more subscribers. It’s a construction-less method that saves on expensive fiber trenching, the company says. While typical fiber-to-the-distribution point solutions extend fiber by 50-100 meters, Adtran’s approach can extend that out to 650 meters from where the fiber ends. That means services rolling out 2-5 times faster at lower cost, Adtran says.

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United Rentals buys power equipment assets from Cummins

United Rentals (URI +3.7%) has expanded its power and HVAC fleet by acquiring power equipment assets from Cummins (CMI +0.7%). URI will serve former Cummins rental customers starting immediately with the equipment, mainly mobile rental generator sets ranging from 150 kilowatts to 2 Megawatts. Some Cummins employees have joined URI as well to maintain continuity. Meanwhile, Cummins will continue to make, service and support power generation equipment for the rental markets.

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Ratings: NBC leads broadcast nets, Fox News tops cable again

Fox News (FOX, FOXA) yet again topped prime-time cable ratings, its 12th week in a row at the top, and NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) led a quiet summer week in broadcast ratings. Fox’s news channel averaged 2M viewers in prime time, better than MSNBC’s (CMCSA) second-place 1.9M average. Those two were followed by USA Network (CMCSA) and HGTV (NYSE:SNI) with 1.4M each, and TBS and CNN (NYSE:TWX) behind them at 1.3M viewers. The 24-hour basis ratings were also taken by Fox News, for the 33rd straight week there, ahead of Nickelodeon (VIA,…

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Gramercy Property Trust launches e-commerce distribution facilities venture

Gramercy Property Trust (NYSE:GPT) launches a new joint venture to own and manage newly constructed distribution facilities leased to major e-commerce tenants throughout the U.S., with the first acquisition a forward purchase contract for $642M. GPT expects to contribute 25%-50% of the equity to the venture, estimated at $64M-$128M at target leverage levels. Separately, GPT agrees to acquire a 41-property portfolio of modern warehouse industrial buildings for $479M.

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La-Z-Boy -14% as higher expenses lead to earnings miss, lower margins

La-Z-Boy (NYSE:LZB) -13.9% AH after posting a sharp FQ1 earnings miss, largely due to higher expenses. LZB says lower volume throughout its plants made it difficult to absorb fixed costs, which combined with the normal seasonal slowdown, hurt upholstery operating margins for the quarter, while acquisitions and growth in the retail segment raised SG&A expenses. FQ1 revenues rose 5% Y/Y to $357M, but LZB says much of the increase “related to acquired sales which did not add volume to our upholstery manufacturing operations.” LZB says FQ1 sales in its upholstery segment…

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Stocks score best day since April as investors buy the dip

Stocks rallied to their strongest showing in four months, as investors bought the dip that had hurt the major averages during the past two weeks, led by the Nasdaq’s 1.4% pop that also snapped a three-day losing streak. Some of the day’s biggest gainers were stocks that were hit hard in recent sessions, including shares of brick-and-mortar retailers and big tech firms (+1.5%). Much of today’s move is related to yesterday’s close, says Boston Private chief market strategist Robert Pavlik, noting the S&P managed to end Monday well off its…

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