Opening Bell 7.25.18

Waymo and Walmart; Boeing falls; Armpit advertisements and more!
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Waymo strikes deals with Walmart, others to boost access to self-driving cars [CNBC]

Waymo, the Alphabet company that spun out of Google's former self-driving car division, is partnering with some of the country's largest companies to expand how many people have access to its self-driving vehicles.

In partnerships with five companies, including Walmart, Autonation and Avis, Waymo autonomous vehicles will pick up customers and drive them to various locations in the Phoenix area. In some cases, customers will be offered savings or deals in order to be shuttled around in Waymo vehicles.

“We’ve tailored our partnerships to meet the top rider needs; in fact, the partnerships below represent eight of the top ten activities our riders do when they get in a Waymo,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing the partnerships.

Boeing cuts full-year forecast for defense business, shares fall [Reuters]

Shares of the world’s biggest planemaker fell 3.3 percent premarket after it forecast a 2018 operating margin of 10 percent to 10.5 percent in its defense business, down from its previous outlook of 11 percent.

Boeing sees 2018 core earnings of $14.30 to $14.50 per share, unchanged from the same period last year, but below the Wall Street estimate of $14.56 per share. Core earnings exclude some pension and other costs.

The Chicago-based company raised it full-year revenue forecast, but kept its earnings per share and cash flow forecasts unchanged.

Sergio Marchionne, Who Melded Chrysler and Fiat, Dies at Age 66 [WSJ]

Sergio Marchionne, who engineered a merger of the auto industry’s weakest companies—Fiat and Chrysler—and turned the combination into a cash-generating machine, died at the age of 66.

Mr. Marchionne was treated at Zurich’s University Hospital for complications after undergoing what Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said was a surgical procedure on his right shoulder in July. The health issues forced the company to unexpectedly remove him as CEO on Saturday, speeding up a departure planned for early 2019 after a decade at the helm of the Italian-American automaker.

Exor SpA, the company that controls Fiat Chrysler, on Wednesday announced Mr. Marchionne’s death.

GM Falls Victim to Trump’s Trade War as Metal Prices Sink Profit [Bloomberg]

General Motors Co. has become the highest-profile American company to fall victim to Donald Trump’s trade wars, cutting its profit forecast this year on surging prices for steel and aluminum.

Adjusted earnings will drop to about $6 a share, down from a previous projection for as much as $6.50 a share, the Detroit-based company said Wednesday. Raw material costs probably will be a $1 billion headwind to profit this year -- roughly double GM’s previous expectation -- while the Argentine peso and Brazilian real are likely to drag on results through the remainder of 2018. The carmaker’s shares plunged in early trading.

The hit to GM’s profit underscores the risk that Donald Trump’s policies pose to automakers. While the U.S. president is moving to weaken fuel economy mandates, his tariffs on steel and aluminum -- and potentially on imported cars -- is undercutting what was shaping up to be a near-record year for an iconic American company that weeks ago was riding high on a $2.25 billion investment in its autonomous-driving unit.

No sweat: Japanese company sells advertising space on women's armpits [The Straits Times]

A Japanese advertising company has come up with an unorthodox way to get eyeballs for its clients' products - by placing advertisements on the armpits of young women.

The Wakino Ad Company, which recently began operations, has released photos on its website showing how this ad strategy could be used by recruitment portals, acting schools, detective agencies and more, reported Japanese website SoraNews24.

The ads come in various sizes and are in colour, with "armpit rentals" starting from about 10,000 yen (S$120) an hour.

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